Schubot Center participation in VMSRTP Research Symposium

The Schubot Center had a strong presence in the Research Symposium organized by the Veterinary Medical Scientist Research Training Program VMSRTP from the Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science college from Texas A&M University that had placed at the end of this past summer semester 2021.

The VMSRTP program

This program is committed to provide first and second-year vet students an opportunity to get exposed to veterinary research in a variety of aspects. For instance, during the summer, each student fellow conducts a full-time research project under the advice of a faculty mentor. They received orientation about how to perform research in a veterinary and biomedical framework and they also have the chance to interact with each other in lunch seminars and workshops. This experience concludes with a research conference where fellows present their summer research and results. The Research symposium represents a celebration of the accomplishments of both, fellow students and their faculty mentors. This past summer, we had three Schubot members participating in the VMSRTP. All of them, successful learning experiences.

Schubot Center vet student fellows and their summer research projects

Digital enrichment to promote bird movements research

Vet student fellow Dillin Parson presented his research using digital enrichment to enhance parrot wellness done in Hill Country aviaries under the mentorship of Dr. Don Brightsmith and Dr. Connie Woodman.  Dallin used a system that used an application specially designed for tablets that gave food rewards every time the subject, in this case, parrots, did any type of movement in the area requested in their enclosures. In his talk, he explained to us how this system increased daily movements levels in the parrots under study.

Enrichment system designed to increase bird movement that was under study by vet student fellow Dill Parson as part of the VMSRTP program during summer 2021. Ipad is shown in the middle of the picture and the food treats dispenser is to the left. Every time bird completes a set of movements as displayed in the application’s tablet, a reward gets dropped in the food dish. Picture credits: Dr. Constance Woodman.

Optimization of diagnostic methods for Avian Bornavirus ABV research

Vet student fellow Tyler Torella who worked under the mentorship of Dr. Sarah Hammer and Dr. Caitlin Mencio talked about the optimization of diagnostic testing methods for Avian Bornavirus (ABV). He worked comparing PCR-based and serological approaches for diagnosing AVB and also performing sensitivity comparisons using different swab sites on the birds. In his talk, he showed us some important results on maternal antibody transmission by testing eggs of cockatiels in the aviary.

Ophthalmic parameters in Quaker parrots research

Vet student fellow Emily Halsmer is a veterinary student at Lincoln Memorial University that came to spend the summer working in the Schubot Aviary as part of the VMSRTP program. She worked with the large colony of Quaker parrot (Myopsiitta monachus) we have in the aviary. Her research, under the mentorship of Dr. Erin Scott, was focus on ophthalmic parameters and represent the first ophthalmic normals published for that species of parrot. 

Congratulations vet student fellows Dellin, Emily, and Tyler and faculty mentors Dr. Brightsmith, Dr.Hamer, Dr. Mencio, Dr. Scott, and Dr. Woodman, and. It was indeed a very successful summer!

Way to go Schubot Center team!!!