Nationwide there is a shortage of veterinarian-scientists involved in biomedical or public health research. Three recent reports by the National Research Council have argued for increased efforts to expand the number of veterinarians in research careers. Veterinary students receive extensive training in the comparison of multiple animal species and the application of knowledge across species boundaries. As such, veterinarians are well attuned to the identification of animal models that serve as models of human disease. Recruitment of veterinarians into biomedical research careers would have a positive impact on human health and is consistent with the NIH Roadmap. However, a relatively small number of veterinarians are actively involved in biomedical research. Exposure of veterinary students, early in their training, to biomedical research has been shown to increase the numbers of veterinarians who pursue research careers. For the past 17 years (10 years with NIH T35 support) the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine has administered a short-term summer research program for first and second year veterinary students to participate in research training. This program enabled 222 different veterinary students to perform biomedical research with 110 different faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania. Tracking data indicate that program graduates are far more likely to pursue post-graduate education and are nearly 8 times more likely to pursue PhD studies. In this program, veterinary students, with the help of an advisory committee, identify faculty sponsors at the University. A core of 34 well funded and experienced faculty serve as trainers, but other qualified faculty at Penn are permissible for training if they meet criteria defined by the program executive committee. With the help of their mentors, students write a short research proposal that addresses an interesting problem in biomedical research. Applications are reviewed with respect to the credentials of the student, merit of the research proposal, and training environment of the sponsor's laboratory. Students receiving funding perform research in the mentor's laboratory during the months of June, July, and August. Students also participate in weekly seminars that provide training in grant writing, data presentation in written and oral formats, and information on research training opportunities and career options. Students are required to present their research in an oral presentation and must submit their work in the form of a written scientific manuscript. Students also present their work in either poster or oral format at a school-wide research day held each Spring and present posters at the annual Merck-Merial National Conference. The program provides training in all aspects of biomedical research including development of research ideas, preparation of a grant proposal, performance of biomedical research, and presentation of results in written, poster, and oral formats.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
NRSA Short -Term Research Training (T35)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-CM-B (01))
Program Officer
Moro, Manuel H
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University of Pennsylvania
Veterinary Sciences
Schools of Veterinary Medicine
United States
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