The aim of the Georgia Veterinary Scholar Summer Research Program (GVSP) at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is to introduce academically talented veterinary students to cutting edge research with mentors capable of inspiring them toward careers in biomedical research. While the focus of basic research training moves to cellular and sub cellular levels, a specific effort is necessary to also encourage biomedical scientists with broad medical training. In particular, the expansion of biotechnology frontiers such as animal cloning, transgenics and gene targeting require veterinarians capable of evaluating whole animal health issues while understanding the technologies. Veterinarians are also ideally trained to recognize spontaneous animal models, and are needed in the disciplines of public health and food safety. However, veterinary students are often not aware of the career possibilities in these areas of need. The GVSP has a 12 year record of introducing over 100 veterinary students to research;the programmatic culture"""""""" and administrative structure are already in place. Many qualified students have to date been denied an opportunity to participate, prompting this proposal to increase the number of trainees by 50%. During the12 week program, students are welcomed into the discipline and camaraderie of the scientific community through seminars on the ethics and conduct of research, animal welfare, communication skills, an informal """"""""Summer Science"""""""" journal club at the homes of faculty, teambuilding and leadership exercises, and scientific and recreational field trips. The central experience is a fulltime research project on a topic and with a mentor of the student's choosing, culminating in written and oral presentations at the university and national level. The PI is director of the CVM's DVM/PhD program, and is supported by 20 mentors from 5 colleges in critical comparative research areas including neuroscience, animal genomics and stem cell research, toxicology, environmental science, public health and food safety, endocrinology, diabetes and obesity, basic and comparative pharmacology, infectious diseases and parasitology. The CVM will provide annual funds from state and corporate sources to ensure continuation of programmatic quality. The GVSP is designed to capture the interest of future veterinarians at a formative time in order for them to develop into independent investigators of burgeoning medical problems.
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