Veterinarians are broadly trained health professionals uniquely qualified to participate in biomedical research, having an understanding of health and disease at the organismal level with an appreciation of comparative biology1,2.The ?One Health? concept, integrating discoveries in both human and veterinary medicine, has received increased attention with new and emerging zoonoses, as well as increasingly common chronic conditions (e.g., cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus), and increased concerns with the effects of environmental and dietary toxins on fetal and early stages of development. As translational research with animal models continue to expand to approximately half of all current NIH research projects1, veterinarians, particularly those with research training, make increasingly valuable contributions to biomedical research.3 Reports by National Academy of Sciences National Research Council Committees concluded that there is a critical shortage of such veterinarians4,5. The Texas A&M University summer Veterinary Student Research Training Program (VMSRTP) is evolving and expanding during our next T35 renewal period. In addition to our previous goal to introduce veterinary students to the biomedical research environment to entice trainees to discover research as an exciting career option, we will now expand our program recruitment efforts to include veterinary students who have previous research experience. Providing these experienced students with a robust summer biomedical research experience with experienced federally funded mentors and enhanced training in responsible conduct of research methods and scientific communication skills will likely enhance their individual research successes, and further establish their interest and commitment to veterinary careers in biomedical research. In this competitive renewal, the program will be led by a new Program Director, a new Program Coordinator, a reconfigured Advisory Committee, and a more focused research mentor base with 27 experienced mentors with strong federal extramural biomedical funding. The summer program includes: 1) biomedical research in a mentor?s laboratory; (2) at least 12 hours formal training in responsible conduct of research; (3) weekly lunchtime (hour-long) training sessions in scientific communication via oral and poster presentations, abstract and manuscript preparation, as well as training in critical evaluation and presentation of primary journal articles; (4) oral research presentations in the annual CVM research symposium; and 5) research poster presentations at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium. The program has exceptional institutional support and a broad array of state-of-the-art facilities, including preclinical GLP labs, a national biodefense lab, primate center, strong institutional collaborations, and a recently funded DHHS Biodefense vaccine center. A major obstacle to the efforts of academic institutions to produce more research veterinarians is the difficulty of providing adequate salary sources to introduce trainees to research. The training positions provided by this T35 would assist recruiting efforts, increase numbers of veterinarians in research, and help alleviate this national shortage.

Public Health Relevance

This Veterinary Student Research Training program (VSRTP) at Texas A&M University addresses a critical national need for veterinarians in biomedical research. Veterinarians have a unique understanding of health and disease at the organismal level of a variety of animal species, and increased numbers of veterinarians in research would alleviate this national shortage. Our evolving T35 programmatic goal is to stimulate veterinary students to consider a veterinary career in biomedical research by providing them with rich, immersive summer training experiences under the direction of NIH-funded mentors in robust biomedical research programs. In this T35 renewal, we will both facilitate novice trainees to discover research as an exciting career option, as well as further develop the research and scientific communication skillsets of trainees with previous research experience and help to solidify their interest and commitment to a veterinary career in biomedical research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
NRSA Short -Term Research Training (T35)
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Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Watson, Harold L
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Texas A&M Agrilife Research
Veterinary Sciences
Schools of Veterinary Medicine
College Station
United States
Zip Code
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