March 15, 2011

 

 Veterinarians supported in their pursuit of research careers

posted March 1, 2011

Five veterinarians are getting a big boost in their postdoctoral studies.

In January it was announced that Drs. Stacy Byers, Mary Klinck, Alex Davies, Kristen Messenger, and Tiffany Wolf had been awarded the Pfizer Animal Health–Morris Animal Foundation Veterinary Fellowship for Advanced Degree.

Each fellow receives $60,000 per year for four years—provided equally by Pfizer Animal Health, Morris Animal Foundation, and the student's academic institution—for living expenses and tuition while pursuing advanced veterinary study. After receiving their degree, graduates commit to work in the animal health research field for at least four years.

The fellowship is part of Morris Animal Foundation's efforts to support training for future generations of veterinary scientists. The program falls under a Pfizer initiative under which the company has pledged to comprehensively address the substantial short- and long-term challenges facing veterinarians and students in the United States.

"By providing established scientists and veterinarians with financial support to pursue advanced scientific training, this program addresses one of the primary reasons interested students don't pursue research careers—the financial burden," said Dr. Wayne Jensen, chief scientific officer for Morris.

Dr. Byers is at Washington State University exploring ways of reducing the risk of transmitting pathogenic bacteria to bighorn sheep; Dr. Klinck is working at the University of Montreal on validated scales for identifying and quantifying pain associated with osteoarthritis in cats; Dr. Davies is at the University of California–Davis researching mechanisms contributing to early changes in cancer stem cells; Dr. Messenger is at North Carolina State University studying analgesic drug therapy in animals; and Dr. Wolf is working at the University of Minnesota identifying factors contributing to Mycobacterium tuberculosis transfer between humans and great apes.

"By providing students with a living wage while they pursue advanced scientific training, this fellowship program opens the door to new careers for veterinary professionals and helps enrich the future of veterinary medical advances," said Dr. J. Michael McFarland, group director of Veterinary Medical Services & Corporate Citizenship for Pfizer Animal Health.