This is a competitive renewal application for the Comparative Medical Science Training Program, a post-doctoral training grant at the University of California, Davis, focused on veterinarians conducting graduate training and research in comparative medicine. We propose to integrate this T-32, currently in its 28th year, into a newly devised, comprehensive 4-year UC Davis Veterinary Graduate Research Program, which aims to support eight DVMs/year in pursued of a PhD. Institutional commitment is pledged to provide two students/year with a summer rotation program, in which they select a research mentor from one of our 25 faculty trainers before entering graduate school, and a first year of support upon entering graduate school and while the students are taking classes and preparing for their PhD qualifying exam. Successful students would then receive one of six three-year T-32 fellowships in support of their laboratory research in years two - four of their graduate career. Career guidance and mentoring for writing fellowship, including K-awards, will be provided so that students are ready for their next career step by the end of their three-year training period. Thus, this program seeks to provide for the first time a comprehensive and seamless research-mentoring program for DVMs at UC Davis to remove some of the barriers that exist, deterring some from pursing a research career. The training program takes advantage of outstanding research and teaching opportunities in the biological sciences on the Davis campus by bringing together on one campus faculty from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, one of the leading veterinary schools in the world and the only such school in the UC System, the School of Medicine, the College of Biological Sciences, and three centers: the California National Primate Research Center, the Mouse Biology Program and the Center for Comparative Medicine. Thus, this training grant aims to fill a critical and well recognized gap in training of a diverse, clinically trained research workforce with expertise in comparative medicine and animal modeling. Over the last funding period the training grant supported a total of 13 DVMs, including 9 female and 4 male veterinarians, pursuing a PhD. Of those, 2 (15%) were from backgrounds underrepresented in the STEM fields. Our goals for the next funding period are to build on the long-term success of this program to broaden our applicant pool, to increase the numbers of DVMs from other institutions, and to work with an increased number of UC Davis graduate programs and the relevant Deans to device a more seamless graduate career paths for DMVs from all backgrounds, so they may be further incentivized to contribute their unique knowledge and training as collaborators and principal investigators in research that furthers human health.
This training program is to support graduate level research training for DVMs at the University of California, Davis, to address a national shortage of research-trained veterinarians. Veterinarians are needed to contribute to research into human health in many ways, including for the support of the health of animals used in research, as collaborators with unique training in comparative aspects of medicine, and as independent investigators studying animal model systems of human diseases.
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