Fifteen veterinary students from the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (VMBS) spent the summer learning about research and scientific communication as participants in the 2022 Veterinary Medical Scientist Research Training Program (VMSRTP).
VMSRTP is a 13-week program during which students conduct full-time research under the advice and direction of a faculty mentor.
“In addition to 15-plus hours of learning responsible conduct of research and lab-specific training and procedures, the students received training in journal article review, as well as oral and written scientific communication skills,” said Dr. Dana Gaddy, co-director of the VMSRTP and a professor at the VMBS. “They responded with incredible enthusiasm and embraced all the many activities and deadlines for each of the tasks placed before them in the very intense 13 weeks of the program.”
At the end of the summer, each of the students gave a 12-minute oral presentation on their work at the VMSRTP Research Symposium. Second-year veterinary student (2VM) Cora Garcia, who worked with VMBS clinical assistant professor Dr. Meriam Saleh, received the Outstanding Clinical/Translational Presentation Award and 2VM Morgan McCord, who worked with Gaddy, received the Outstanding Basic/Translational Presentation Award.
“The presentations that I attended were of extraordinary quality in all aspects,” said Dr. John August, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “I was so impressed with the product of this summer’s program. It is truly wonderful to witness future veterinary scientists beginning to form a passion for research here at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.”
The students also presented research posters at the National Veterinary Scholar Symposium (NVSS) in St. Paul, Minnesota, and will present them again at the VMBS Student Research Day in January. Each is also required to submit a publication-ready manuscript on their work.
“The students were rock stars at the NVSS,” Gaddy said. “They asked questions in the plenary, engaged with other students at their posters, and presented their own. They really are outstanding ambassadors for both the VMSRTP and Texas A&M.”
This year, 13 faculty members participated as mentors, including VMBS professor Dr. Sara Lawhon, who received the inaugural VMSRTP Outstanding Mentor Award (sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim).
In addition to Gaddy, VMSRTP is directed by Drs. Chuck Long and Tracy Vemulapalli and is supported by Eleni Vonda, a program coordinator in the VMBS’ Office of Research & Graduate Studies. It is funded by awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program, and the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation.
“I’m really grateful for the tremendous efforts of my co-directors of the program, Dr. Long and Dr. Vemulapalli,” Gaddy said. “Their collective efforts really have enabled us to set the tone for rigorous and collaborative research training and science communication experience for all of these scholars.”
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of VMBS Communications, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; firstname.lastname@example.org; 979-862-4216