A group of veterinary students recently attended the National Institutes of Health and Merck-Merial National Veterinary Scholar Symposium in Bethesda, Md. The students had just concluded a 12 week research program at OSU designed to give 1st and 2nd year veterinary students the opportunity to conduct a research project for the summer with mentoring.
Students are assigned to Veterinary Medicine faculty who serve as mentors. They guide the students through all aspects of a research project including experimental design, methodology, data collection and analysis, drawing conclusions and problem solving.
“Research is a learning process,” says Ashley Nichols, Class of 2010. “If it doesn’t work, you make adjustments and do it again.”
Participants worked on projects in either basic or clinical science areas. Projects included:
- gastric ulcers in horses
- antibiotic treatment of plague as a potential bioterrorism agent
- a tick-transmitted protozoan parasite that infects dogs worldwide
- the alimentary tract microflora of the horse that can cause a variety of diseases
- intestinal parasites of dogs and cats
- virus-host interaction of B virus in humans using a mouse model
- Lyme disease
- immunity against the leading causative agent for Bovine Respiratory Disease
- body weight, age, and sex as it affects a dog’s ability to clear drugs from its system
- myocardial damage in horses suffering from snake bites
"Through their research, our students did an excellent job reflecting the role that veterinarians play,” says Dr. Susan Little, professor, pathobiology department, Krull-Ewing Chair in Veterinary Parasitology and coordinator of the program. “We have projects in bioterrorism defense, infectious diseases, and comparative medicine—all areas where veterinarians play an important part.
“Funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Merck-Merial Veterinary Scholars Program makes our program possible,” she continues. “And this year, Merck-Merial sponsored students to attend the National Symposium. This was a great opportunity for our students to interact with other veterinary students across North America as well as faculty from other veterinary programs.”
The OSU contingent traveling to the National Veterinary Scholar Symposium included: Dr. Michael Davis, mentor; Hannah Davenport, 2009; Madeline Deatherage, 2010; Christian Hoyt, 2009; Dr. Susan Little, Ashley Nichols, 2010; Kristin Sievert, 2009; Jered Wendte, 2010; and Thomas Wilson, 2010. More than 250 veterinary students convened at the meeting to present their research posters and explain their projects. In addition to the research projects, students had an opportunity to hear from national leaders in veterinary medicine during the Symposium.
The Oklahoma State Center for Veterinary Health Sciences is one of 28 veterinary colleges in the United States and is fully accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association. For more information on the Veterinary Center, visit http://www.cvhs.okstate.edu.