Veterinarians, aided by their wide-ranging and comparative education in veterinary medicine, make essential contributions to biomedical discovery and public health. Yet, there is a well established shortage in the number of veterinarians engaged in biomedical research. The Cornell University Veterinary Investigator Program (VIP) seeks to improve this situation by providing full-time research laboratory experiences to veterinary students for a 10-week period during the summer after their first or second year of veterinary school. The Program additionally provides exposure to emerging research developments and new techniques, complementary skills in written and oral science communication, and career guidance. The Veterinary Investigator Program has five primary objectives: i) Provide DVM students with rigorous, hypothesis-driven mentored research experiences and broad exposure to research techniques; ii) Promote the responsible conduct of research through training in ethics and principles such as rigor and reproducibility; iii) Advance the science communication skills of DVM student trainees, including abstract writing, poster presentation, and oral presentation; iv) Expose students to cutting-edge biomedical areas and recent breakthroughs via lab-based experiences and faculty-led workshops; and v) Demonstrate how students can incorporate research into their post-DVM careers through advanced research training and/or by integrating research into a variety career pathways such as clinical practice, public health, and academia, among others. The Veterinary Investigator Program is entering its 14th year. NIH T35 funding for the previous 10 years has provided support for 79 participants, leading to peer-reviewed publications and future research funding, as well as significant career impacts. The admissions process at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine gives preference to those who express an interest in research, thereby contributing to an exceptionally competitive application pool for the Veterinary Investigator Program. The Program consists of 44 dedicated and collaborative faculty trainers, including approximately equal numbers of men and women, and faculty representing all Professorial ranks. The faculty trainers hail from the five academic Departments of the College of Veterinary Medicine, and have well funded and productive laboratories that specialize in the following areas: Cancer; Cellular & Organismal Metabolism; Developmental Biology & Reproduction; Genome Biology; Infection Biology; and Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells. By providing ten interested students per year an opportunity to avail themselves of the wide range of superb faculty and resources at Cornell University, the Veterinary Investigator Program strives to engage early stage veterinary trainees in high impact biomedical research and to motivate them to pursue a career that includes rigorous scientific inquiry.

Public Health Relevance

There is a well documented need to involve greater numbers of veterinarians in biomedical research. By virtue of their broad training, veterinarians possess a unique skill set that makes them well suited to productively engage in interdisciplinary biomedical research. The Cornell University Veterinary Investigator Program (VIP) is designed to provide rigorous, hypothesis-driven laboratory research experiences to early stage DVM students. By exposing veterinary students to the importance, impact, and appeal of basic and translational science, this Program will have long-term impacts on the next generation of veterinarians, with significant implications for biomedical research and public health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
NRSA Short -Term Research Training (T35)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Watson, Harold L
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Cornell University
Other Basic Sciences
Schools of Veterinary Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Ford, Jordan; McEndaffer, Laura; Renshaw, Randall et al. (2017) Parvovirus Infection Is Associated With Myocarditis and Myocardial Fibrosis in Young Dogs. Vet Pathol 54:964-971
Cooley, Richard B; Smith, T Jarrod; Leung, Wilfred et al. (2016) Cyclic Di-GMP-Regulated Periplasmic Proteolysis of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa Type Vb Secretion System Substrate. J Bacteriol 198:66-76