Student investigators acknowledged for research

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The 2016 Merial–National Institutes of Health National Veterinary Scholars Symposium, held July 28-31 at The Ohio State University, provided a forum to honor outstanding research performed by veterinary and post-DVM–degree students.

Finalists for the 2016 Young Investigator Award, co-sponsored by the AVMA and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, were (from left) Drs. Maciej Parys, Elshafa Ahmed, Nora Springer, Yung-Yi Mosley, and Megan C. Niederwerder. Dr. Parys took first place, Dr. Springer placed second, and Dr. Ahmed placed third.

Winners of the 2016 Young Investigator Award, co-sponsored by the AVMA and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, were announced during the weekend. The Young Investigator Award is given to graduate veterinarians pursuing advanced research training through doctoral or postdoctoral programs. From 36 applicants, the top five finalists were selected by a panel of researchers at the host school and presented their research at the symposium. They are as follows:

  • Dr. Elshafa Ahmed of The Ohio State University with “Development of a genetic risk profile for Epstein-Barr virus–associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease.”
  • Dr. Megan C. Niederwerder of Kansas State University with “Microbiome associations in pigs with the best and worst clinical outcomes following coinfection with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2).”
  • Dr. Yung-Yi Mosley of Purdue University with “Unraveling the genetic basis of the immune response to pertussis vaccination.”
  • Dr. Maciej Parys of Michigan State University with “Characterization of immunomodulatory properties of feline mesenchymal stem cells.”
  • Dr. Nora Springer of Cornell University with “Biomaterial composition influences in vitro macrophage behavior.”

At the symposium, the five finalists were judged by a panel of three scientists selected by the chair of the AVMA Council on Research, Dr. Harm Hogenesch. Dr. Parys was the overall top candidate and was awarded a $2,500 honorarium. Dr. Springer placed second and received $1,000; Dr. Ahmed placed third and received $500.

In addition, five students were funded by the AVMA/AVMF Second Opportunity Summer Scholars Award and presented the results of their research. The following students each received $5,000 for the research scholarship and a $1,000 travel stipend:

  • Sarah Linn of The Ohio State University with “Experimental modeling of the nonspecific protective effects with measles virus vaccination.”
  • Jordan Ford of Cornell University with “Parvovirus detection by PCR and ISH is associated with myocarditis and cardiomyopathy in young dogs.”Sarah Chung of Texas A&M University with “Effect of FABP1/SCP-2/SCP-X gene ablation (TKO) on the endocannabinoid system in mice.”
  • Kimberly Young of North Carolina State University with “Phenotypic evaluation of multicopy single-stranded DNA mutants to determine functional regions.”
  • Mitch Caudill of Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine with “The proline utilization system of Brucella abortus is required for virulent infection.”
Laura LoBuglio
Dr. Baxter
Dr. Victoria Baxter

The 2016 Merial Veterinary Scholar Research Award went to Laura LoBuglio (Minnesota ’18) for her research project “Identification and inhibition of oxidative stressed-induced apoptosis pathways in beta cells in diabetes.”

Dr. Victoria Baxter (Texas A&M ’10) received the 2016 Merial Research Award for Graduate Veterinarians for her research project “The role of interferon gamma in the immunopathogenesis and control of Sindbis virus during nonfatal alphavirus encephalomyelitis.”