November 01, 2007


 College news

Symposium brings together student researchers 

Posted Oct. 15, 2007


More than 450 veterinary students and scientists gathered Aug. 1-4 on the campus of the National Institutes of Health for the 2007 Merck-Merial-NIH National Veterinary Scholars Symposium.

The University of Pennsylvania hosted the symposium, which offered a forum for veterinary students to present work from summer research programs in the United States and Canada. This year's event marked the first national gathering of veterinary students in combined-degree programs. The event also highlighted research from postgraduate and more senior veterinary scientists.

The symposium focused on comparative oncology and the contributions of veterinary scientists to public health. Sessions also covered other topics in immunology, genomics, stem cells, genetic disease, neurobiology, oncology, infectious disease, and laboratory animal medicine.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges hosted a concurrent conference on "Veterinarians in biomedical research: Building national capacity," which sought to identify barriers to students entering research careers. Student leaders participated in the AAVMC meeting and then led discussions on the subject matter during the symposium.

About 275 veterinary students attended the symposium, including 33 combined-degree students. Also in attendance were about 75 university faculty members, almost 50 NIH scientists, and scientists from Merck and Merial.

Financial supporters included the AVMA, Merck, Merial, NIH, AAVMC, American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Morris Animal Health Foundation, University of Pennsylvania, and other universities.

Financial support for student research comes from the Merck-Merial Summer Scholars Program, NIH National Center for Research Resources, and other organizations.

Information about summer research programs is available at Presentations from the AAVMC meeting are at under Meetings & Events, Past Presentations.

U of W-affiliated equine referral center opens

The Morrie Waud Equine Center, located east of Janesville, Wis., opened its doors in August. The center serves as an equine veterinary referral practice affiliated with the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine for the purpose of training veterinary students. The nonprofit group Friends of the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Teaching Program Inc. owns and operates the center.

The state-of-the-art center offers equine surgery—including colic and orthopedic—ophthalmology, digital radiography, lameness diagnosis, and 24-hour intensive care. A covered sand arena for lameness examinations, additional surgery suites, a reproduction area, private examination rooms, and a large parking area are also on site.

The center was made possible through a donation from Morrie Waud, who raises Suffolk draft horses on his farm near Long Grove, Ill. Waud said his donation was motivated by a desire to attract more veterinary students with a strong interest in equine practice to the veterinary school. He also admitted that the convenience of having a facility that's more accessible to his seven-draft-horse trailer factored into his decision.

Tennessee dean to retire

Dr. Michael BlackwellDr. Michael Blackwell, dean of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, has announced that he will leave his position Jan. 1, 2008, and retire effective March 1. He has been dean since 2000.

Dr. Blackwell said the veterinary college has expanded in a number of areas during the past seven years. The college partnered with the College of Social Work to create the Veterinary Social Work program, established a program allowing veterinary students to earn a master's degree in public health, and founded the Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness.

Also during Dr. Blackwell's tenure, the veterinary college has begun a $9 million expansion of the small animal clinic. The project will add about 32,000 square feet.

Before joining the veterinary college, Dr. Blackwell served as chief of staff in the Office of the Surgeon General, Department of Health and Human Services. Previously, he had been deputy director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine. He graduated from Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1975.