The aim of the Georgia Veterinary Scholars Research Program (GVSP) at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine (UGA-CVM) is to immerse academically talented veterinary students from across the US in cutting edge research inspiring them toward careers in biomedical research, and fostering in them a deeper understanding of the myriad roles, and vital need, for veterinarians in research. Critical to this aim is the GVSP's commitment to broad, inclusive recruitment of students and careful pairing with strong, cross-disciplinary mentors who are not only capable of providing a thorough exposure to the principles underlying the conduct of research, but who also provide a scientific environment that instills a sense of community. A specific effort is necessary to recruit biomedical scientists with broad medical training, such as our veterinary graduates, as partners in the nation's biomedical research endeavors. Veterinarians are well equipped to provide a critically needed comparative organismal biology approach to the frontiers of biomedical research, including animal cloning, transgenics, development of medical devices, and translational medicine. Veterinarians are also ideally trained to recognize spontaneous animal models of human disease and are key players in the disciplines of public health, emerging infectious diseases and food safety. Nevertheless, veterinary students are often not aware of the wealth of career opportunities in research and in many cases do not recognize the role of veterinarians in these exciting areas. Clearly for the promises of ?One Health? and translational medicine to be realized in healthier people and animals, we will need more veterinarians engaged in research. The renewal of our training grant will help us accomplish the important aim of showcasing the excitement and wonder of research careers to future veterinarians with the intent to prompt them to choose research as their career. During the 12- week summer program seven pre-doctoral veterinary student trainees (35 total trainees for the five year project period) are welcomed into the discipline and camaraderie of the scientific community and challenged to think creatively. Fundamental skills are conveyed through seminars on topics including ethics, responsible conduct of research, scientific rigor, animal welfare, and communication skills. Relaxed journal club discussions, team building exercises and site visits to local research organizations contribute to a sense of community and excitement about future research possibilities. The central experience is full time hypothesis-driven research with a mentor of the student's choosing, culminating in written and oral presentations at the university and national levels. The PI is the Director of GVSP and 36 mentors spanning 12 departments in 6 colleges and schools within UGA support the program. An advisory and a mentoring committee further support the progress of the program and the enhancement of the mentor and trainee experiences. The GVSP is designed to capture the imagination of future veterinarians at a formative time to inspire them to develop into independent investigators.
There has developed a great need in contemporary society for veterinarians trained in the methodology of basic research. Unfortunately, veterinary students are often not aware of the career possibilities in these areas of need. The expansion of biotechnology frontiers require contributions by veterinary scientists capable of evaluating whole animal health issues while being expert, or at least conversant, with the rapidly evolving technologies. We believe our proposed training grant (second competitive renewal) ?Georgia Veterinary Scholars Summer Research Program? will make veterinary students more aware of and likely to pursue careers in research. Such veterinary research scientists will then be particularly well equipped to identify unique features of various animal models of human disease, to advance studies in translational medicine and animal health, to navigate the interface of animal and ecological health, and to be leaders in public health.
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