CVM students will participate in veterinary scholars program in Europe

Adriana Castro

Adriana Castro

By Sarah Carey

Two University of Florida veterinary medical students were recently selected to do summer research training in Europe as part of the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program.

Adriana Castro and Barbara Berrios, both members of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s Class of 2022, are among only eight North American veterinary students to have been selected to participate in the program, according to the company.

The nine to 11-week research experience the students will gain will take place in an established research laboratory at one of the participating European veterinary schools, three of which are in France, three in the Netherlands and two in Hannover, Germany.

The students will be supervised by experienced research staff and will participate in all relevant activities organized within and outside of the research group, according to an overview provided by BI. They will also participate in all laboratory meetings and lectures, and will have to regularly present their work.

Castro will be working in a lab at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover. Her project is titled, “The Role of Neutrophil Extracellular Traps in the Host Innate Defense Against Zoonotic Bacterial Infections.”

“The goal of my project is to characterize the role of neutrophil extracellular traps in the host immune defense against zoonotic bacterial infections in different animal species, compared to human neutrophils,” she said. “Knowledge derived from this investigation can serve as part of the basis for the discovery of novel treatment or prevention against resistant bacteria.”

Barbara Berrios

Barbara Berrios

Berrios will be conducting her project at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. She said she applied there specifically, because she had visited The Netherlands during a backpacking trip she took to Europe last year.

“The Netherlands is a potential candidate in my list of European countries in which I might like to live after graduation,” she said.

Her project will be investigating the blood-milk barrier in dairy cows.

“This project is of interest to me because it will give me the opportunity to learn about different cell culture techniques,” she said.

Berrios added that she looked forward to the summer research opportunity, because she felt it combined her passion for veterinary medicine and research, with a chance to experience a true living situation in Europe, and a unique opportunity to network internationally.

“I believe that upon completion of this program I will gain knowledge, experience, and skills that will greatly impact my professional development and my ability to collaborate in further research investigations in a more proficient manner,” she said. “Moreover, I will have the opportunity to explore my interests within the field, learn about multiple ongoing investigations, network with colleges and veterinarians internationally, and live an enriching cultural experience.”

Castro said she was excited about the opportunity to gain insight into a career in biomedical research.

“The importance of pets in American households is increasing; families are now more willing to invest in their animals’ health care than in previous decades,” she said. “To be able to provide the best diagnoses, treatments, and, most importantly, care for our patients, continuous research has to be done. I aspire to contribute to veterinary medicine’s development and evolution by having research be an important component of my career.”

She added that performing research in a foreign country would provide a great opportunity to discover a new environment and culture.

“Beyond this, I have been learning German for the past five years, and spending my summer in Germany is the perfect way to be immersed in this beautiful language, which will greatly aid in my mastery of the idiom,” Castro said.

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