Students participate in Merial Student Scholar Program


Merial Summer Research Group 2013

The UF CVM’s 2013 Merial Veterinary Scholars program students from the Class of 2016, pictured from left to right: Matthew Hampton (Dr. David Pascual’s lab), Marie Hanin (French exchange student, Dr. Nancy Denslow’s lab), Elizabeth Luria (Dr. Denslow’s lab), Erika Schwartz (Dr. Don Samuleson’s lab), Margaret Ewald (Dr. Caryn Plummer’s lab), Kryssa Johnson (Dr. John Dame’s lab), Victoria Bender (Dr. Ramiro Isaza’s lab), Sara Ferguson (Morris Fund Scholar, Dr. James Wellehan’s lab), Stella Blum (Dr. Wellehan’s lab), Erica Moore (Dr. Stan Kim’s lab), Benjamin Brunson (Dr. Brad Case’s lab). Not pictured: Kristina Chapman (Dr. Owen Rae’s lab), Brittany Martabano (Dr. Chris Sanchez’s lab) and Guiliana Miranda (Dr. Art Donovan’s lab), Jillian Schrier (Dr. Dennis Brooks’ lab) and Justin Stillwell (Dr. Tom Waltzek’s lab).

Summer research opportunities for veterinary students are expanding.

With a growing need for veterinarians with research experience in academia, government jobs and industry, over the last few years there has been a strong push to provide a focused research opportunity for veterinary students across the United States.

The Merial Corporation developed the Merial Veterinary Scholars Research Program in 1998 and the program has now expanded to include funding from both the Morris Animal Foundation and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals.

In addition, the Merial Summer Program also provides funding for three French and three Dutch veterinary students to participate in research at participating United States veterinary colleges of their choice.

“We had a nice, diverse program this year,” said the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s program director, Dr. Linda Hayward.

This year, 21 UF veterinary students participated in the summer research program, investigating topics as diverse as “Immune Suppression of Largemouth Bass by Exposure to p,p’-DDE” to “Parasite resistance in sheep” with UF research faculty. In addition, one French student from the Alford Veterinary School in Paris, France worked in the research lab of Dr. Nancy Denslow, a professor of physiological sciences, on the impact of aquatic toxicants linked to the Gulf oil spill on fish heart development.

All participating students receive a stipend for the summer research and attend weekly lectures or field trips, including a visit to UF’s Innovation Hub. At the end of the three months of research the students present their research results to their peers and have the opportunity to attend the national symposium.

This year’s Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposium was held Aug. 1-3 at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in East Lansing, Mich. Nine of the 21 students attended the meeting, along with Dr. Maureen Long, the UF program’s co-director.

This year’s symposium theme was “Comparative Medicine: Meeting Global Needs.”

The UF veterinary students who participated in the summer research program included: Victoria Bender, Stella Blum, Benjamin Brunson, Kristina Chapman, Patty Dingman, Margaret Ewald, Sara Ferguson, Matthew Hampton, Hagar Hauser, Marie Hahn (a French exchange student); Kryssa Johnson, Elizabeth Luria, Sandy MacAthur, Brittany Martabano, Casey Miller, Guiluliana Miranda, Erica Moore, Chris Olmo, Jillian Schrier, Erika Schwarz and Justin Stillwell.

UF students who participated in the conference at MSU were Bender, Blum, Ewald, Matthew Hampton, Luria, Schwarz, Ferguson, Hahn, Johnson and Moore.


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