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Summer Veterinary Student Research Fellows at Wake Forest University

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The national shortage of veterinary scientists in biomedical research is well documented in terms of vacant veterinary research positions and unmet collaborative needs. This shortage has resulted in deficits in the quality of research findings and lost productivity among researchers using animals. Correcting the dearth of veterinary researchers requires education of veterinary students regarding research methods and opportunities and the unique value of their professional skills. Early exposure to research during veterinary school is the most promising strategy. Therefore, the proposed summer research program seeks to expose veterinary students to biomedical research through practical experience. Objectives are (1) To provide a structured summer research experience at Wake Forest University School of Medicine;(2) to teach students in the program the basic elements of hypothesis-driven research, grant-writing, and data analysis;(3) to provide training in ethics and professionalism in research;and (4) to provide the students with experience in oral and written presentation of scientific findings. Training will be principally accomplished by one-on-one mentoring through completion of a research project guided by a senior researcher chosen from a pool of 25 program faculty members (including 11 veterinarians) in diverse fields including pathology, comparative medicine, developmental psychology, behavior, substance abuse, surgery, physiology/pharmacology, neurobiology, rheumatology/immunology, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, nutrition, cancer, radiation countermeasures, and reproductive medicine/women's health. Students will also participate in a dedicated short course in research survival skills, and in ongoing seminars and journal clubs in the Section on Comparative Medicine. Students will write a research proposal and a final report of their findings, and will be encouraged to present their findings nationally and to publish. This program will provide opportunities for original scientific thought, ethical reflection, and acquisition of critical skills, in a setting uniquely supportive of veterinarians as independent researchers.

PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE (provided by applicant): There is a national shortage of veterinarians in research. This application seeks to address this shortage by providing veterinary students with a summer fellowship designed to teach them about research methods, ethics, and career opportunities in biomedical research.

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