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Texas A&M University Holds Annual Veterinary Medical Student Research Training Program Conference

Posted August 22, 2014

Veterinary Medical Scientist Research Training Program participants

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Over the course of the summer, 19 students from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) had the opportunity to move from the classroom into research laboratories to further their education through the Veterinary Medical Scientist Research Training Program (VMSRTP). Working closely with faculty mentors in the program, this dedicated group of students conducted research projects on various topics that encompass the full range of the One Health Initiative.

“My research focus was to evaluate the microbial communities, termed microbiota, residing in the small intestine of healthy dogs during periods of withholding food,” said Alyssa Kasiraj, a student participant in the VMSRTP. “We discovered profound changes in the microbial communities during periods of withholding food compared to the periods of regular feeding, which is important when considering therapeutic options in clinical situations that involve withholding food.”

“The VMSRTP encourages veterinary medical students to explore a side of veterinary medicine that is not typically a part of private practice, including career paths in clinical research and academia,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine.  “It provides students with a new look at the breadth of career opportunities in the veterinary profession, as well as a better understanding of veterinary and biomedical research and the various roles that veterinarians fill in those endeavors.”

“The Standards for Accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education tell us that the curriculum should provide ‘opportunities throughout the curriculum for students to gain an understanding of the breadth of veterinary medicine, career opportunities and other information about the profession,’” said Dr. Roger Smith, the program’s faculty coordinator. “The VMSRTP provides one such opportunity.”

The conference, which was held on July 29th, 2014, gave these students the opportunity to present their research results in advance of traveling to the Merial-National Institutes of Health Veterinary Scholars Symposium held at the College of Veterinary Medicine on the Cornell University campus.

“I came into the lab with very little computer knowledge, and I learned how to use Python-based software by the end of the summer, as well as getting to work on my writing and presenting skills,” said Kasiraj. “The experience showed me the amazing impact of research in the medical field. I am very grateful for this program and all it allowed me to do!”


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


Dr. Megan Palsa
Executive Director of Communications, Media and Public Relations
979-862-4216 (work)
979-421-3121 (cell)

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