More than 450 people gathered Aug. 6-8 at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine for the 2009 Merck-Merial NIH National Veterinary Scholars Symposium.
Attendees included more than 335 U.S. and Canadian veterinary students participating in 27 summer research programs—with support from the Merck-Merial Veterinary Scholars Program or the National Institutes of Health National Center for Research Resources—and in eight DVM-PhD degree programs.
The theme of the symposium was "Translational Research: Putting Discoveries to Work in Practice." Nearly two dozen scientists presented research and networked with the students. Dr. Jack A. Reynolds, recently of Pfizer, delivered the keynote address, "Lost in Translation: Are Animal Models Predictive?" The "State of the Art" sessions covered the topics of obesity, regenerative medicine, clinical studies, gastroenterology, immune-mediated and infectious diseases, and dermatology.
Each student who participated in a summer research program presented a poster. The main audience was the other students and more than 90 faculty mentors. Directors of summer programs met during the symposium and provided information to attendees about clinical and research training opportunities.
The symposium again featured the Young Investigator Award Competition, sponsored by the AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation. First place went to Dr. Jennifer Johnson from the University of Minnesota, second place to Dr. Kevin Woolard from North Carolina State University, and third place to Dr. Wendy Lorch from The Ohio State University.
New this year was the parallel course "Becoming Faculty: A Short Course on Launching a Scientific Career," for early-stage assistant professors and postdoctoral veterinarians finishing a research training program. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund sponsored and organized the course.
Sponsors of the symposium included Merck, Merial, NIH, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, AVMA, AVMF, American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and ACVIM Foundation, North Carolina State University, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Information about the Merck-Merial Veterinary Scholars Program is at www.merckmerialscholars.com. Information about NIH training awards for veterinary students and postdoctoral veterinarians is at www.ncrr.nih.gov/comparative_medicine/resource_directory/training.asp.