DVM/MS in Laboratory Animal Medicine

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The DVM/MS-LAM program offers motivated veterinary students valuable training in laboratory animal medicine and animal resource management concurrently with their DVM training. The objective of this program is to provide students the opportunity to join the biomedical research community as skilled veterinarians, filling essential positions in research facilities immediately upon graduation.

DVM/MS–Laboratory Animal Medicine (DVM/MS-LAM) graduates are well-prepared to become leaders in the field of laboratory animal medicine. Exciting and challenging opportunities abound in academia, industry (biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies), and government settings. Responsible for the humane care and use of animals in research, teaching and testing, laboratory animal medicine experts provide care and oversee the management and care of a broad range of species at the individual and population-based level. They are responsible for veterinary care, teaching, animal resource management, technical study support, experimental surgery and the development and refinement of animal models. Laboratory animal veterinarians are valuable research collaborators and may conduct independent research.

    Curriculum

    The DVM/MSLAM) program curriculum is closely tied to the DVM curriculum which students take at the same time. The MS program begins with an introductory course in the first year and follows with didactic, tutorial-based laboratory courses each semester in the second and third years.  In addition, Applied Learning Experience (ALE) completed during the summers following the first and second years of the DVM program provides practical exposure to research and clinical laboratory animal medicine. Clinical laboratory-animal focused electives during the fourth year provide further practical training and mentorship in a variety of settings.

    • Spring (3 credits) 

      • LAM 551 - Introduction to Laboratory Animal Medicine

      Summer: (6 credits)

      • LAM 558/559 - Applied Learning Experience
    • Fall: (2.5 credits)

      • LAM 553 - Preventive Medicine in Research Animal Facilities & Journal Club

      Spring: (2.5 credits)

      • LAM 557 - Specialized Research Environments and Journal Club

      Summer: (5 credits)

      • LAM 558/559 - Applied Learning Experience
    • Fall: (2.5 credits)

      • LAM 556 - Surgery and Anesthesiology in Research Facilities

      Spring (2.0 credits)

      • LAM 555 - Laboratory Animal Medicine and Pathology
    • Clinical Electives – Students must take 9 weeks of LAM-focussed clinical electives in the DVM program. The MS-LAM program director must approve the LAM-focussed electives in advance.

    Course Descriptions

    • Applied Learning Experiences (ALE), 6 credits, 8 weeks (approximately 280 hours), first and second year summer

      The summer Animal Facility Experience consists of 8 weeks of in-depth training experiences at industry or academic laboratory animal facilities during the first or second summer after matriculation into the program. The focus of this experience should be on clinical laboratory animal medicine, husbandry, regulatory compliance, or facility management. 

      With advance approval of the program director, equivalent full-time work experience acquired before matriculation may substitute for LAM 558 or 559, but not both. Work undertaken to satisfy undergraduate course requirements will typically not qualify for exemption.

       

    • Applied Learning Experiences (ALE), 6 credits, 8 weeks (approximately 280 hours), first and second year summer

      The summer Research Experience consists of an 8-week research experience involving animals. The focus of this experience should be significant participation in a research project using laboratory animals, including exposure to experimental design, collection of data, and interpretation of results. 

      With advance approval of the program director, equivalent full-time work experience acquired before matriculation may substitute for LAM 558 or 559, but not both. Work undertaken to satisfy undergraduate course requirements will typically not qualify for exemption.

    • 3 credits, first year spring

    • 2 credits, second year fall

    • 2.5 credits; second year spring

      This course provides advanced instruction in topics relating to specialized environments of particular concern to the laboratory animal veterinarian.   The course primarily consists of didactic presentations and discussions led by specialists in the field on a broad variety of topics including zoonotic diseases, occupational health and safety programs, and biocontainment facility design and disaster planning. Other subjects include transgenic technology, behavioral studies, and imaging technologies such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT).  The course consists of didactic lectures, case studies, and facility tours which integrate the material discussed in lectures. This course continues the two journal club sessions.

    • 2.5 credits; third year fall

      This course provides students with additional training in anesthesia and surgery methods with specific emphasis on the laboratory animal setting.  Practical laboratories provide an opportunity for the students to gain hands-on experience in the appropriate restraint and handling techniques as well as practice common procedures such as injections, oral administration of compounds, catheter placement, and blood collection in rodents.  Pain assessment, analgesic management, determination of humane endpoints, and methods of euthanasia are also covered.  Principles of aseptic surgery in research facilities and post-operative care are emphasized.  Students also have an opportunity to practice routine dentistry in Cummings School teaching dogs. The journal club continues with an emphasis on animal models and advanced techniques and the underlying basic science.

    • 2 credits; third year spring

      This course complements the third year of the veterinary curriculum which integrates the pathophysiological aspects of disease with a comprehensive discussion of presenting clinical signs, diagnostic criteria, and the treatment of health concerns of the common laboratory animal species. The lectures provided in this course are designed to provide students with a sound basis in clinical laboratory animal medicine with emphasis on diagnosis, prognosis, and management.  Experimental surgery laboratories allow students to gain practical experience in swine and rabbit surgical methods by performing common procedures such as jugular vein cannulation.  Facility management and staff management are discussed along with an introduction to “lean management”. The journal club continues with an emphasis on animal models and advanced techniques and the underlying basic science.

    • 9 weeks, fourth year

      Nine (9) weeks of laboratory animal medicine rotations are required during the 4th year of DVM training.  Elective time may be scheduled throughout the clinical year, including the last seven weeks prior to graduation.  DVM/MS-LAM students meet with MS program faculty and their mentors to plan their clinical year required electives for the combined degree and prepare for the next step in their career.

      Clinical electives can be done at laboratory animal facilities at any location the student chooses.  There are multiple opportunities in the greater Boston and Worcester areas, and students have arranged elective experiences at several distant locations.  The following types of experience are encouraged:

      1. Rodent barrier facilities
      2. Biocontainment facilities
      3. Primate or multi-species research facilities
      4. Surgical programs
      5. Transgenic facilities
      6. Research Pathology Experience
      7. Academic, pharmaceutical or industry biomedical research facilities

    Degree Requirements

    • 12 didactic credits are required during the first, second and third years of the DVM program.
    • 12 credits of summer experience (ALE) during the first- and second-year summers – six credits each summer.
    • 9 credits of clinical elective experience in the fourth year.

    Didactic courses are taught by faculty from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and by research animal facility veterinary staff and scientists from nearby institutions. Adjunct and guest faculty are drawn from Tufts Medical School and Tufts Medical Center Hospitals, Charles River Laboratories, Sanofi-Genzyme, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, AbbVie, Novartis, and Harvard Medical School Animal Resources and Comparative Medicine.

    Career Opportunities

    The specialty of Laboratory Animal Medicine offers intellectual challenge and the opportunity to advance human and animal health, promote laboratory animal welfare. Employment opportunities are excellent.  For additional information, we refer you to the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM), and the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (ASLAP).  A recent survey shows:

    • There was near-zero unemployment and very low underemployment for laboratory animal veterinarians, with professional income continuing to outpace inflation.
    • There were 46 active training programs in laboratory animal medicine with a total of 187 enrolled or graduating residents.

    Admissions

    Students seeking admission to this program should have successfully completed the first semester of the DVM program at the Cummings School, be full-time students in good academic standing, and successfully completed the laboratory animal medicine selective in the spring semester of first year.  The application deadline is May 15 of the student’s first year of the DVM program.  A maximum of six students are admitted to the DVM/MS-LAM program each year.

    Application Requirements

    The application requirements for applicants to the DVM/MS–LAM program include the following:

    • Students must have successfully completed the first semester of the DVM program at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and be full-time students in good academic standing.
    • Students must have successfully completed the spring selective Introduction to Laboratory Animal Medicine.
    • Students must submit the LAM application for admission.
    • Students must submit to the admissions office a letter of evaluation from a Cummings School faculty member who can speak to the student’s interest in and potential for a career in laboratory animal medicine.

    Selection

    A maximum of six students are admitted each year. Admission is based upon the following criteria:

    • Application and Essays
    • Letter of Evaluation
    • Academic Performance at Cummings School
    • DVM Application Materials

    Applicants are notified of admission to the program by June 15 in order to begin one of their summer Applied Learning Experiences.

    Financial Aid

    DVM/MS–LAM students are eligible for a MS tuition support through the Dr Henry L. Foster Fellowship, a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, or other support from laboratory animal and pharmaceutical industry sources. Students must apply for tuition support each year of the program.

    More information regarding financial aid can be found in the Financial Aid section.

    Tuition and Fees

    The tuition for the LAM program is in addition to the DVM tuition and is payable according to Tufts University guidelines. 

    All students are charged tuition each semester for the first three years of the DVM/MS–LAM program. Tuition for the year is payable according to Tufts University guidelines. Tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year will be $6,900. Tuition is payable in each of Years 2, 3 and 4 of the curriculum.. This tuition is in addition to the DVM Program Tuition. All tuitions are subject to yearly increases.

    Students who require an extension in order to complete their MS requirements may be charged a continuation fee.

    Information on the cost of education as well as the Cummings School refund policy can be found on the Tuition and Fees page.

    Faculty

    DVM/MS–LAM Program Faculty from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

    DVM/MS-LAM faculty from Tufts Medical School

    • Dr. Scott Perkins, Clinical Professor and Senior Director, DLAM, Comparative Medicine Services (CMS)
    • Dr. Lauren Richey, Veterinary Pathologist/Associate Director CMS
    • Dr. Mike Esmail, Adjunct Assistant Professor, CMS
    • Dr. Corinna Beale, Adjunct Instructor, CMS

    Additionally, the program faculty includes veterinary and scientific experts from nearby institutions. Adjunct and guest faculty come from Tufts Medical School and Tufts Medical Center Hospitals, Charles River Laboratories, Sanofi-Genzyme, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, AbbVie, Novartis, and Harvard Medical School.

    Contact

    For additional information or questions about the DVM/MS–LAM program, please contact:

    David Lee-Parritz, DVM, DACLAM
    DVM/MS-LAM Program Director
    Phone: 508-887-4511
    david.lee-parritz@tufts.edu

    Angeline Warner, DVM, DSc, DACVIMDVM/MS-LAM Program Co-Director
    Phone: 508-887-4202
    angie.warner@tufts.edu

    Kate Margory Beckett
    Graduate Program Manager
    Phone: 508-887-4376
    kate.beckett@tufts.edu

    Program curriculum and policies can be found at the DVM/MS LAM section of the Graduate Student Handbook