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WesternU CVM Veterinary Research Scholars Program

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The WesternU CVM Veterinary Research Scholars Program (WesternU-VRSP) is a joint venture between the College of Veterinary Medicine Office for Research and the WesternU Office of Research and Biotechnology to engage veterinary students in research during the summer months. This 11-week long program is designed to train students in responsible conduct of research, expose them to career opportunities in biomedical research and provide hands-on experience in research. The program emphasizes one-on-one training in research under the direct mentorship of a faculty.

The 2020 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium is being hosted by WesternU and UCSD (at the UCSD campus) on July 31 – August 2, 2020. Please check back soon for the 2020 NVSS application deadlines. 

Many applications, but not all, share the same due date. However, the application process, support and expectations vary between sponsors. Please review the links below to find each sponsor’s individual requirements and due dates.

2020 Sponsors and Application pages for the WesternU CVM Veterinary Research Scholars Program

 

 

Boehringer Ingelheim Logo

Boehringer Ingelheim Sponsored Program

WesternU logo Morris Animal Foundation Sponsored Program

AVMA/AVMF logo

AVMA/AVMF Sponsored Program

PetSmart Charities logo

PetSmart Charities® Sponsored Program

WesternU logo USDA AHDR Sponsored Program

WesternU logo

WesternU – Intramural Sponsored Programs

 

Program Overview

The short-term goal of this program is to expand students’ interest and skills in research and scholarly writing. In the long-term, this program aims at increasing the number of graduates who seek advanced training, pursue a biomedical research career, and remain scholarly active in their field of interest.

During this program, CVM veterinary research scholars will work under the supervision of experienced faculty members and research associates to gain experience in:

  • Study design and grantsmanship
  • Responsible conduct in research
  • Data recording and analysis
  • Research methodology
  • Poster and podium presentation skills
  • Interpretation and dissemination of results
  • Research training and career pathways for veterinarians

The CVM veterinary research scholars will be expected to prepare for their summer research project by reviewing relevant literature and demonstrating their understanding of the methodologies used in their project. CVM veterinary research scholars will be actively engaged in the collection of data. Through this experience, they will acquire technical skills under direct supervision of their mentor and research associates. CVM veterinary research scholars will have an opportunity to develop problem-solving skills during one-on-one interactions with their mentor as well as during weekly research meetings. CVM veterinary research scholars will investigate various research career pathways available to veterinarians both on and off campus. This summer research program will culminate in CVM veterinary research scholars presenting a poster and / or podium abstract of their results.

Hands-on Experience in Research

CVM veterinary research scholars will work under direct supervision of their faculty mentor and research specialists in the laboratories to acquire the technical skills required for their project. CVM veterinary research scholars will spend the majority of their time in the mentor’s laboratory conducting hands-on research. CVM veterinary research scholars and mentors will have the opportunity to share progress and discuss ongoing issues during the summer research Workshop Series commonly organized during the first and last week of the WesternU CVM Veterinary Research Scholars Program. The level of involvement of students involved in the WU-VRSP varies with the funding mechanism, but CVM veterinary research scholars supported through extramural funding are expected to be engaged full-time for 11 weeks in their project. A list of potential mentors is available at the bottom of the page.

Research Training

In addition to the hands-on training with their mentors, CVM veterinary research scholars enrolled in the WesternU-VRSP will attend seminars, small group discussions, and several field trips relevant to research.

CVM veterinary research scholars supported through extramural funds are expected to attend all group training sessions.

Orientation: The WesternU-VRSP will start with a day of orientation focusing on planned activities, a tour of the laboratories, laboratory safety, laboratory etiquette, maintaining a proper laboratory notebook, and data recording. This day will also include time for individual meetings between veterinary research scholars, mentors and research specialists. A social gathering allows trainees and mentors to meet and network.

Summer Research Workshop Series

Seminars and workshop topics may include:

  • General principles of grant writing
  • Study design
  • Preclinical research
  • Resources and challenges in clinical trial
  • Patents and licenses / research management
  • Sample size calculation and power
  • Biostatistics
  • Ethical issues surrounding animal use in research
  • Ethical issues intellectual property and authorship
  • Anesthesia and pain management in experimental animals
  • Application of laboratory methods in biomedical research
  • Common techniques in cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology
  • Career and training opportunities in biomedical research
  • Computer-based reports and presentations
  • Tips for poster presentation
  • Tips to get published

Format will vary with topic and may consist of a PowerPoint presentation, journal club, or case discussion. These meetings will conclude with student research scholars sharing their progress and discussing any issue they may be facing in their project.

Field Trips and Workshop: Fields trips and workshops are organized every year to enhance exposure to biomedical research tools and careers. Past examples include:

Statistics Workshop (implemented in 2014): CVM student summer research scholars participate in a hands-on workshop scheduled at the beginning of the program. CVM student summer research scholars will be guided through a step-by-step exploration of a statistical method, which they can apply to their project, such as power analysis.

Trip to Pacific Veterinary Conference: The California Veterinary Medical Association, has partnered with the CVM Office for Research to offer WesternU students an opportunity to give poster presentations of clinically relevant scientific abstracts at the Pacific Veterinary Conference. This trip is designed to help students become familiar with the format of scientific presentations, improve their knowledge with a day of continuing education, and network with other students engaged in research at WesternU and UC Davis. UPCOMING: JUNE 18-JUNE 21, 2020 AT SAN FRANCISCO, CA.

Trip to City of Hope: CVM student summer research scholars travel to City of Hope National Medical Center, a not-for-profit clinical research center, hospital and graduate medical school located in Duarte, California. Dr. Richard Ermel, DVM, PhD, Director of Animal Resources Center at the City of Hope, hosts our students as they explore the facility. The day includes a tour of the Animal Research Center and Transgenic Mouse Core facilities. Lecture presentations and discussions highlight the state-of-the-art technologies used in the center and unique mouse models at COH/BRI. The one day-field trip event concludes with a summary and discussion of career opportunities for DVMs in research and comparative medicine programs.

Trip to UCLA Medical Center: Dr. Marcelo Couto, DVM, PhD, Executive Director of DLAM hosts this trip to the animal facilities at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In the clinical and molecular diagnostic laboratory, students are exposed to MFIA serology and MPV-PCR assay to detect the prevalence of MPV (Mouse ParaVirus) in mice population. The one day-visit also provides ample opportunity to converse with pathologists with hands-on exposure to small animal necropsy, and diagnostic interpretation of histopathology slides.

Trip to UC San Diego Health Sciences, Center for Veterinary Sciences and Comparative Medicine: Dr Peter Ernst, DVM, PhD, Head of Division of Comparative Pathology and Medicine hosts this one day-visit. CVM student summer research scholars meet with residents in laboratory animal medicine and post-DVM graduate student research scholars currently enrolled in the research training programs. Short presentations by mentors allow CVM student summer research scholars to appreciate the breadth and relevance of the research undergoing in each laboratory.

Past WesternU-VRSP Programs

Dissemination of Results

Student Technology and Research Symposium (STRS) : STRS is a one day program during which students involved in research, from all colleges at WesternU, present the results of their summer research projects. Each summer research student submits a written abstract and gives a 15-minute oral presentation to faculty members from all colleges, visitors, and fellow students. Breakfast, lunch, break refreshments, and a wine and cheese mixer are provided. This event occurs in the last week of their summer experience, and is designed to be supportive, friendly, and provide a constructive experience. The Office of the Vice President of Research provides awards to the best presentations.

Boehringer Ingelheim–NIH Veterinary Scholars Program Symposium (NVSS) : Participants in the WesternU-VRSP sponsored by AVMF, MAF and Boehringer Ingelheim must commit to present a poster at the upcoming Boehringer Ingelheim-NIH symposium as part of their application to the program. Poster preparation and travel expenses will be supported. Other participants in the WesternU-VRSP may apply to receive the same support from the CVM Research Office to cover their expenses. The Boehringer Ingelheim-NIH symposium is usually scheduled each year at the end of the summer program and varies in location. This meeting provides an exceptional opportunity for scholars to meet peers from other institutions and network with renown scientists, in a collegial atmosphere. Further information about this national symposium is available at: https://nvss.aavmc.org/ . The 2020 NVSS will be hosted by WesternU and UCSD (held at the UCSD campus) on July 31 – August 2, 2020.

College Research Day : Currently enrolled College of Veterinary Medicine Students will be given the opportunity to present their scientific research findings as a podium presentation each year in the early spring. Students will be able to exchange ideas, share their knowledge, present their research to faculty and students from all colleges on campus, improve their presentation skills, and earn awards. A keynote speaker is invited to present their expertise to faculty and students alike, previous keynote speakers have included: Dr. Bruno Chomel, DVM, PhD, Dr. Sc. Professor of Zoonoses, University of California, Davis; Dr. David Haworth DVM, PhD, President and CEO of the Morris Animal Foundation; and Dr Manuel Moro, PhD, Health Scientist Administrator, NIH. The 2019 College Research Day was held on February 1, 2019.

Potential Research Mentors and Past Projects

For a list of 2019 participating mentors, click: Faculty List

Past CVM Student Research

2019 Summer Research Program Projects

2018 Summer Research Program Projects

2017 Summer Research Program Projects

2016 Summer Research Program Projects

2015 Summer Research Program Projects

2014 Summer Research Program Projects

 

2020 Sponsors and Application pages for the WesternU CVM Student Summer Research Scholars Program

 

 

Boehringer Ingelheim Logo

Boehringer Ingelheim Sponsored Program

WesternU logo Morris Animal Foundation Sponsored Program

AVMA/AVMF logo

AVMA/AVMF Sponsored Program

PetSmart Charities logo

PetSmart Charities® Sponsored Program

WesternU logo USDA AHDR Sponsored Program

WesternU logo

WesternU – Intramural Sponsored Programs

Questions should be directed CVM Research Office cvmresearch@westernu.edu, Ph: 909-469-5557.