Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University hosts 30th National Veterinary Scholars Symposium

Cummings School marked the 30th anniversary of its veterinary student research program this year with 33 second- and third-year DVM students participating
A name tag lying on a booklet

The National Veterinary Scholars Symposium (NVSS) is the premier annual scientific colloquium which showcases research accomplishments by veterinary students completing summer research projects. The symposium title “Engaging Veterinarians to advance animal and human health” was representative of the school’s mission and was embraced by the attendees. The symposium was preceded by the 3rd Annual DVM/PhD Combined Degree Colloquium and held in tandem with the “Becoming Faculty” program supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Alastair Cribb speaking at a podium

Cummings School Dean Dr. Alastair Cribb and University Trustee and AVMA President Dr. John DeJong V’95 along with AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew Maccabe and Boehringer Ingelheim US Animal Health president Everett Hoekstra welcomed the scholars to the 30th symposium. The keynote address entitled “Impact of Research Collaborations between DVMs and MDs” was delivered by Dr. Terence Flotte, Dean of University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Tim Leard (Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health) and Dr. Charles Shoemaker (Cummings School) were the plenary address speakers on “Vaccines and immuno-therapeutics” and “How re-engineered antibodies from camelids may be the antibody therapeutics of the future,” respectively.


Dr. John DeJong giving a speach

Held July 24 through July 27 at Worcester State University, the 30th Symposium highlighted the ways veterinary scientists advance basic and applied research to support evidence-based medicine and enabled participants to gain insights into careers in biomedical research. Poster presentations from veterinary students were featured throughout the meeting. Students and faculty also attended the two student-focused breakout sessions on professional development on July 26 and 27.  Presenters for the breakout sessions included faculty from Cummings School (Drs. Elizabeth Rozanski, Annie Wayne, Ray Kudej, Claire Fellman, Vicky Yang, Cheryl London, Heather Gardner, Jonathan Runstadler and Amanda Martinot), Tufts University (Drs. Shira Doron, Vincent Fitzpatrick and Elizabeth Porter), other universities (Drs. Daniel Fletcher, Kelly Hall, Elinor Karlsson, Jeremy Luban) and pharmaceutical companies (Drs. Christine Adrenai and Joshua Powe). The breakout sessions highlighted the advances in emergency and critical care, antimicrobial resistance, regenerative medicine, oncology, and infectious diseases and pathways to research career development.

The symposium included presentations by AVMA/AVMF award winners in canine research (Dr. Rodney Page, Colorado State university), feline research (Dr. Jessica Quimby, The Ohio State University), clinical research (Dr. Noah Cohen, Texas A&M university) and lifetime excellence in Research (Dr. Wayne Mcllwraith, Colorado State University) and by five early stage investigator award finalists. Dr. Heather Gardner, a final year Tufts PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Cheryl London, received the first prize. In addition, Veterinary Research Scholar Award and Research Award for Graduate Veterinarians were presented by Boehringer Ingelheim. The program ended with a reception followed by a banquet.

The symposium was supported by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, NIH, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, AVMA/AVMF, AAVMC and Cummings School.

Led by Associate Dean for Research Dr. Sawkat Anwer, and assisted by Susan Brogan and Trena Haroutunian, the conference was attended by 695 veterinary students from across the U.S. and Canada, with some coming from as far away as France, Germany and the Netherlands. Special thanks go out to Dr. Liz Rozanski, Joe Popowski, Teresa Loftin, Leslie Wenning, Carly Nagle, and Jillian Nolan for taking time out of their busy schedules to welcome the NVSS participants to our campus; members of Faculty Research Advisory committee for program development; and Dr. Joyce Knoll for overall support.

Dr. Sawkat Anwer, who established Veterinary Student Research Day and has run it since its inception, shares the history of the pivotal program here.