For 10 weeks each summer, Merck-Merial veterinary scholars spend their break in the laboratory learning and living the life of a research scientist. This year, 13 first- and second-year Professional Veterinary Medical students at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences participated in the program, culminating with a trip to the Merck-Merial national symposium in August.
“The objective of this program, which started in 1998, is to provide a positive research experience for first- and second-year veterinary students by integrating them into basic and clinical science research projects,” said Dr. Terry Nett, Merck scholar advisor and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education for CVMBS. “Their work in the laboratories forms the basis of a research presentation to be given by the trainee to the other trainees and mentors at the Merck-Merial Summer Research Symposium and at the CVMBS Research Day held each spring semester.”
During the 10-week summer program, each trainee spends about 90 percent of his or her time working under a mentor's supervision in the mentor's laboratory. In addition, students spend time in groups participating in journal clubs, special seminars concerning grantsmanship, ethics in research, clinical versus basic research, field trips to facilities of special interest, and other research-related topics. Laboratory time is focused on the ongoing research of the mentor and, depending on the mentor, ranges from basic laboratory procedures to the evaluation of clinical cases as part of a clinical research program.
Since 1988, the Merck Company Foundation has funded research programs at veterinary schools where students have been given an opportunity to experience research first hand. In 1998, Merck established the Merck-Merial Scholar's Program and invited all U.S. veterinary schools to be participants.
The 2008 Merck-Merial NIH National Veterinary Scholars Symposium was hosted by Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan, from July 31 to Aug. 3. Merck-Merial Scholars from the PVM program at Colorado State are:
2008 Merck-Merial Scholars (with poster title)