Merial Veterinary Scholars Program Celebrates 25th Anniversary at Symposium
2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Merial Veterinary Scholars Program (MVSP), which provides annual opportunities for veterinary schools to introduce
first- and second-year veterinary students to biomedical research. The
milestone anniversary was celebrated at the annual Merial-NIH Veterinary
Scholars Symposium, held at Cornell University from July 31 through August 3.
very appropriate that this year’s Symposium, which is the culmination of the
summer research program, should take place at Cornell,” said Roberto Alva, Head
of Clinical R&D, Americas East, Merial and executive director of the
program. “When the program began in 1998, Cornell was one of the first two
schools – along with the University of Pennsylvania – that participated.” The
program has been so successful in achieving its mission that within ten years
it expanded to include all US veterinary schools. Recently it has also included
veterinary programs in France and the Netherlands.
each institution, Merial scholars are assigned to a mentor and laboratory. Each
scholar conducts a hypothesis-driven research project developed jointly by the
scholar and mentor over an 8-12 week period during the summer. At the end of
the program, scholars present their findings to their fellow scholars and
attending faculty. Scheduled activities providing opportunities for the
students to learn about the broad aspects of research are also included.
Merial-NIH Symposium has also grown tremendously in recent years. It has become
the preeminent venue for the presentation of veterinary research by students
and young researchers. The 2014 event attracted 640 participants, of which 191
were Merial-sponsored scholars. All of the researchers had the opportunity to
present the results of their research in a scientific poster.
formal welcomes from Michael Kotlikoff, Dean of the College of Veterinary
Medicine, Cornell University, and from Fabian Kausche, Global Head of Research
& Development, Merial, the Symposium opened with a provocative keynote
address. Physician and best-selling author, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz,
Professor of Medicine at UCLA, challenged veterinary researchers to collaborate
with and bring a greater understanding of animal diseases to their human-health
attendees also had the opportunity to hear from a panel of top researchers in
areas chosen to correlate with the Symposium’s “One Health” theme:
sustainability, genetics, cancer biology, and infectious disease. “The, ‘One
Health’ theme emphasizes the impact of veterinary medicine on global
sustainability, as well as on human and animal health and scientific
discovery,” said Joel Baines, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate
Education, Cornell University, who headed this year’s organizing committee.
Read about the 2014 award winners