Veterinary Research Day Celebration

More than 50 projects presented at annual event
An individual with dark hair stands in front of a research poster, explaining it to another individual.
Tiffany Kim, V26, presents her research project, titled “First EEHV Species-Specific Antibody Profile of a Fatal EEHV2-HD Case,” which earned an award in the international/conservation medicine category. Credit: Jeff Poole, Cummings School

More than 50 self-initiated research projects were presented by Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine students and residents on August 25 at the 34th Annual Veterinary Research Day, held in the Equine Sports Medicine Complex.

Presenters included second-, third-, and fourth-year students in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program, students enrolled in the Master of Animals and Public Policy program, and resident house officers. The researchers are mentored by Cummings School faculty members.

In addition, some projects were presented by students enrolled in a collaborative summer research program through Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which co-sponsors the event. Participants from both institutions are invited to conduct research at either school, and they attend lectures and field trips together while working on their respective projects.

Project funding needs are met by either the institutions and their active research laboratories, private funds or gifts, or outside foundations or organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health and the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

The scope of projects includes basic laboratory research, field/conservation medicine studies, international research, and clinical studies.

Following a morning session of research poster presentations, Dr. Heather Gardner, assistant research professor in the departments of Clinical Sciences and Comparative Pathobiology, presented the keynote speech titled, “Charting the Genomic Landscape of Metastatic Canine Osteosarcoma.” 

In 2022, Dr. Gardner received Cummings School’s Junior Faculty Research Award, which recognizes both the contributions she has made to the field of research as well as the potential for continued impact in the future. Her laboratory efforts center on comparative and translational oncology, using the tumor genome to inform novel therapeutic approaches.

In an afternoon ceremony held in Agnes Varis Auditorium, Cummings School Dean Alastair Cribb and Cheryl London, V90, associate dean of research and graduate education, presented the top researchers with awards for their presentations, selected by faculty judges, as follows:

Clinical and Translational Research:

A smiling individual with wavy brown hair wearing a white shirt.

Noah Dwyer, V26, was honored for “Characterizing Monocyte-Dependent Gene Expression in Metastatic Canine Osteosarcoma,” mentored by Dr. Heather Gardner. “Working on this project allowed me to both explore and expand my interest in oncology outside of the classroom setting, and to get first-hand experience with new and exciting research techniques,” Noah explained. 

“… I felt supported and encouraged every step of the way by my incredible mentor, Dr. Heather Gardner, and her laboratory technician, Alaina Ryan. I plan to continue my work with Dr. Gardner and to further develop my research skill set.”

International/Conservation Medicine:

Tiffany Kim, V26, was selected for “First EEHV Species-Specific Antibody Profile of a Fatal EEHV2-HD Case.” Drs. Paul Ling, Christine Molter, and Felicia Nutter, V93, mentored Tiffany.

Basic Research:

Maryann Makosiej, V26, was honored for “Engineering Retroviruses for Targeted Cellular Cancer Therapies,” which she completed through the School’s collaboration with MIT, where she worked with Drs. Kelly Metcalf-Pate and Michael Birnbaum. “Before coming to veterinary school, I had never taken an immunology class,” Maryann shared. 

“… Working in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT as a veterinary student in an immunology lab, I saw the power of translational research and felt enormously proud to collaborate with medical students and scientists on advancing targeted cellular cancer therapies for humans and animals alike. 

A smiling individual with long hair wearing a blue shirt.

"Cummings School encouraged my voice as a veterinarian-scientist and empowered me to advocate for a seat at the table. I am eager to continue to learn and advance the intersection of veterinary medicine, translational research, and One Health." 


Graduate Students:

Ph.D. candidate Erin King was lauded for her project, “U.S. Pet Ownership Trends During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Households with Adolescent Children.” She was mentored by Associate Professor Megan Mueller, V13.

Resident House Officers:
Two awards were presented in this category, as Dr. Nicole Dowgos, a third-year anesthesia resident, was recognized by the Department of Clinical Sciences for “Veterinary Students’ Attitudes toward Anesthesiology as a Specialty,” mentored by Associate Clinical Professor Emily McCobb, V00, VG02. 

And Courtney Lunger, a resident in the Division of Comparative Medicine and Ph.D. student, was lauded by the office of Clinical Research Shared Resource for “Gastric Coinfection in Thiopeptide-Positive Cutibacterium acnes Decreases FOXM1 Expression and Alters Helicobacter pylori-induced Pathogenesis in a Murine model of Gastric Cancer.” Dr. James Fox, an adjunct professor in Ambulatory Medicine and Theriogenology, mentored Courtney.

Veterinary Research Day 2023

Our students share their projects and reflections. Watch the video.