This T35 application requests funding to support experiential training at Colorado State University in molecular, mechanistic, and applied biomedical research to encourage pre- DVM/VMD engagement in biomedical research. Numerous studies have identified the need for greater numbers of veterinarians in post-graduate research. Student research involvement during veterinary school has a major positive impact influencing this career path choice. The proposed program will build upon a Veterinary Summer Research Program that has been in existence at CSU for 27 years. An aggressive recruitment strategy will be employed to encourage participation by the most highly qualified candidates from CSU and nationally. Twenty percent of students participating in the CSU program in the past 5 years (15 of 75) have been under-represented minorities. A weekly seminar series for participating students will focus on elements of the research process, including responsible conduct of research, overview of mentor faculty research projects, and instruction on grant-writing and research data presentation. The 12-week program will culminate in a local symposium and in student participation in the Merial-NIH National Veterinary Scholars Symposium (hosted by CSU in 2012). Fifty-nine mentor faculty (30 with veterinary degrees) will participate, providing: (1) strong biomedical research programs in infectious disease, cancer, physiology, and epidemiology supported by 251 current-year grants awards totaling >$19.5M;and, (2) experience in research mentorship of veterinarians and veterinary students (476 students mentored in the past 10 years, including 287 pre- or post-DVM/VMDs). Student participants will thus experience a program that will bridge basic research to in vivo translation with impact on human and animal health in a time of emerging diseases, biosecurity, and translational medicine. The program will be guided by experienced leadership including: (1) an external advisory committee comprised of experienced T35 Program Directors, and (2) experts in recruitment of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and training in responsible conduct of research. This application requests support to expand (by ~50%) and amplify the impact of the existing successful CSU Veterinary Summer Research Program. Initial support for six students is requested with a graduated increase to ten positions. The desired outcome of this program is production of graduate veterinarians with the interest, aptitude, and motivation to enter post-graduate training and careers in research.
Using no more than two or three sentences, describe the relevance of this research training program to public health. In this section, use plain language that can be understood by a general, lay audience. This research training program requests resources for stipend and training costs to support summer research opportunities for veterinarian students in a wide variety in public and human health related disciplines. As many emerging infectious diseases of humans are spread from and/or are infectious to animals, and as many human cancers and spontaneously occurring diseases also exist in animals, or are studied in animal models, veterinarians trained in research are essential to advancement of public health.