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Morris Animal Foundation Funds Veterinary Student Advancing Animal Health

Posted January 16, 2014

Anastasia Koinis

COLLEGE STATION, TX – Texas A&M second-year veterinary student Anastasia Koinis was recently selected to receive a Morris Animal Foundation Veterinary Student Scholar program award supporting her summer research project on avian bornavirus (ABV). Each year, the Morris Animal Foundation funds the Veterinary Student Scholars (VSS) program to help provide students hands-on exposure to veterinary medical research.

“I have worked for the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center for the last couple of years and became interested in the ABV research they have been doing,” Koinis said. “I plan to use the award to help pay for vet school and living expenses.”

The VSS program awards grants up to $4,000 to veterinary students who hope to establish a career in clinical or basic animal health and/or welfare research.  Students are carefully chosen based on their academic standing, a proposed research project consistent with the foundation's guidelines, and endorsement from a research mentor.

“Our college encourages not only our graduate students, but also our undergraduate and veterinary students, to engage in research programs and to seek external funding awards to support their research,” said Dr. Robert Burghardt, acting associate dean for research and graduate studies at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). “The faculty in our college has provided strong mentorship to students like Anastasia, and as a result, our students who participate in research programs continue to be recognized nationally and internationally for their efforts.”

Her research project investigates the synergism between an antiviral drug with a flavonoid on the avian bornavirus; this virus causes a fatal neurological wasting disease in parrots. Preliminary results suggest that the combination may increase the antiviral activity.

“While in her first year of the professional veterinary program, I was able to interact with her and observe her skills in the Veterinary Microbiology course, where again she impressed me with her abilities and knowledge,” said Dr. Jeffrey Musser, Koinis’ mentor. “I could think of no better student to assist me in our research on viral diseases in birds, so I approached Morris Animal Foundation and forwarded her as an MAF Veterinary Student Scholar candidate.”

This program provides a unique opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of veterinary medicine, as well as provide research experience before beginning a career of their own.


For more information about the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at or join us on Facebook.

Contact Information

Megan Palsa

Angela G. Clendenin

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