Veterinary students are uniquely qualified in comparative medicine, a training that is a resource in animal model research. Yet, a majority of students do not pursue research careers, principally because of lack of exposure to biomedical research. This competing renewal proposal for our Summer Veterinary Student Research Program (SVSRP) at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) will train veterinary medicine students in research skills and encourage them to pursue a research career. We will recruit from all 30 accredited veterinary medical schools in the nation, particularly from Tuskegee University with the objective of recruiting underrepresented minorities. A total of 6 new DVM-seeking scholars will be recruited each year during the next five year funding period of the program. SVSRP will provide students with experience in areas of research that couple student interests with research in animal models of infectious disease, immunology and inflammation and vertebrate genetics. Mentors will be assigned by the Advisory and Selection Committee to applicants based on applicant interests. Students will receive training in the writing of research proposals and scientific papers, biostatistics and experimental design, reports and presentations, visual display of quantitative information. Their training will also include humane care and use of animal models and the ethical conduct of research as led by speakers with expertise in human experimentation, the Belmont Report, the Animal Welfare Act, scientific integrity and rigor and reproducibility. A unique feature of this program will be a visit to the NIH, USDA, and other agencies in Washington, DC to better understand research career opportunities for veterinarians and to learn how public policy is influenced by research. After completing orientation and writing a research proposal, students will spend nine weeks in the mentor's laboratory doing research. To sustain interest in biomedical research, we will organize a weekly meeting with successful DVM researchers from academia, government, or biotech industries. VMCVM has successfully administered summer research training programs in the past, culminating in training 143 DVM students in biomedical research since 1995. Since administering this T35 SVSRP in 2006, we have completed essentially all that we originally proposed during the last 10 years. Renewal of this SVSRP will enable the VMCVM to continue providing opportunities and training to DVM students in biomedical research and encourage pursuit of a research-based career as world-class scientists.
Veterinary students are uniquely qualified in comparative medicine, a training that is a resource in the biomedical sciences and particularly in terms of animal model research. This competing renewal proposal is to continue our Summer Veterinary Student Research Program (SVSRP) that trains veterinary medicine students in research skills at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM). The SVSRP is designed to increase the number of veterinarians pursuing research-based careers.