Nearly 900 veterinary students and leaders from three dozen veterinary schools in the U.S. convened virtually this week for the annual National Veterinary Scholars Symposium. They learned from researchers, public health officials and industry experts about the global burden of disease, infectious disease control and potential pathways for research careers—such as in emerging and transboundary diseases— where their veterinary training and One Health perspective is critical.
In addition, several students were recognized with Boehringer Ingelheim Research Awards for Graduate Veterinarians and Veterinary Students. Winning students receive monetary prizes and a stipend to attend the Symposium to accept their awards and present their research.
Dr. Brittany Szafran, from Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, received the 2021 Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Research Award for Graduate Veterinarians, which promotes research in veterinary biosciences. It recognizes graduate veterinarians who have completed or will soon complete a PhD program or are in their final years of residency training in veterinary pathology, medicine, surgery, radiology/ imaging, or laboratory animal medicine. Dr. Szafran’s work has focused on the underlying biochemical and immunologic mechanisms in response to pesticides to better understand and help protect the health of people, animals and the environment from the potential toxicity of chemicals.
Carley Allen, from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, received the 2021 Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Research Award for Veterinary Students. Allen’s research has focused on investigating a novel molecular target for inhibiting cell growth and improving survival in canine osteosarcoma, the most common skeletal malignancy of dogs and a beneficial comparative and translational model for human osteosarcoma.
Brittany Allen, from The Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Jaqueline Chevalier, from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, also received recognition as honorable mention Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Research Scholars.
The annual National Veterinary Scholars Symposium was hosted this year by Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Institutes of Health. The symposium showcases research conducted by veterinary students in the course of their Veterinary Scholar Program research internships.
“These students are joining the life sciences field at a remarkable time. The frequency of pandemics and transboundary threats is predicted to increase, presenting new and greater risks to human and animal health, as well as our food supply,” Caroline Belmont, head of U.S. Animal Health Innovation for Boehringer Ingelheim, said in a welcome address to participants. “The One Health perspectives and capabilities of today’s veterinary students will undoubtedly play a critical role in addressing our future challenges, and the hands-on experience, guidance and support we provide them now represents an important investment in the future health of animals and humans.”
The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program was established more than 30 years ago to introduce first- and second-year veterinary medical students to biomedical research. At each participating school, Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars are assigned a mentor and laboratory. Each scholar conducts a hypothesis-driven research project. The research project is typically conducted over a 10-12-week period during the summer, with students presenting their work at the conclusion. Nearly 5,000 students have received stipends from Boehringer Ingelheim to conduct research since the program started. More information is available at http://veterinaryscholars.boehringer-ingelheim.com/.
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