LSU Veterinary School staff and students receive Phi Zeta awards

 

phi zeta winnersOn September 30, the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (LSU SVM) hosted its annual Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day—a days established to promote research in schools of veterinary medicine, to recognize research conducted by veterinary students, House Officers (residents and interns), graduate students and faculty, and to encourage veterinary students to pursue careers in research. 

 

Phi Zeta is the national veterinary honor society, which recognizes and furthers scholarship and research in matters pertaining to the welfare and diseases of animals. The importance of this day to the LSU SVM is underlined by the fact that the Veterinary Teaching Hospital is closed except for emergencies to allow all students and House Officers to participate.

 

Phi Zeta Day provides an opportunity for national experts to speak to students on current research in various fields and to present a picture of global veterinary research. This year’s speakers were Heath C. Thomas, DVM, DACVP, vice president of safety assessment at GlaxoSmithKline; and Cyril R. Clarke, BVSc, PhD (LSU SVM 1987), DACVP, dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, member on the board of directors for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and chair of the AVMA Data Committee. Dr. Thomas’ presentation was entitled, “Drug-Induced Vascular Injury,” and Dr. Clarke’s presentation was entitled “Career Development of the Veterinarian Scientist- a Translation Model.

 

Veterinary and graduate students, House Officers, post-doctoral researchers, faculty and staff presented current biomedical research that is relevant to diseases of man and animals. Student entries are made in two categories: the doctoral student competition and the undergraduate, veterinary student, Master’s degree, House Officer and post-doctoral competition. First-, second- third-, and fourth-place monetary awards were given in these categories.Post-doctoral entries were made in one category. First-, second- and third-place monetary awards were given in this category.

 

This year, 16 PhD students submitted posters for the competition. In the undergraduate, veterinary student, MS degree student, and House Officer competition, there were 9 posters for consideration in the Basic Research category, 24 in the Clinical Research Category, and 14 in the Post-Doc Category. Two Faculty fellows have posters in the non-competing category. Posters are judged by volunteers from government agencies, LSU and Tulane University, medical centers, veterinary hospitals and private industry.

 

Veterinary students who participate in the LSU SVM’s Summer Scholars Program enter their research projects for consideration on Phi Zeta Emphasis Day. Each year, veterinary students apply to participate in the Summer Scholars Program, in which they develop research proposals with the guidance of a faculty member and conduct research throughout the summer. This program is funded by the Merial Veterinary Scholar Program, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and various other science and animal organizations. In 2013, some student research projects were funded by Merial, NIH, the Morris Animal Foundation, the Kenneth F. Burns Trust, the LSU Equine Health Studies Program and the American Humane Society. Two student projects are being funded by LSU SVM faculty grants. Students listed below who have an asterisk by their names participated in the 2014 Summer Scholars Program.

 

In 2013, the NIH award that supports a portion of the LSU SVM summer scholar's program was extended for another five years. The long-term objective of this program continues to be to assist in the attraction of veterinarians to careers in biomedical research. We have instituted a tracking system of our graduates to assess the long term outcome of our program. Since the initiation of this award nine years ago, we have used this T35 grant support to train a total of 80 pre-doctoral veterinary students. Of these, 22 scholars are still currently enrolled in the professional program (earning a DVM); and, of the remaining 58 trainees who have graduated with a DVM, 28 (48.2 percent) have continued onto a research-oriented career path in industry or in an academic setting. 

 

Winners in the PhD Category

There was a tie for first place in the PhD category. First place went to Emma K. Harris, of Kiln, Ms., PhD student in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, for her project entitled, “Characterization and dissemination of Rickettsia parkeri Δsca2 and R. parkeri ΔrickA in and arthropod cells.” Her faculty mentor was Kevin Macaluso, PhD, Mary Louise Martin Professor in PBS. First place also went to Wei Duan, of WuHan, China, PhD student in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, for his project entitled, “Bioscaffolds direct adult equine multipotent stromal cell osteogenesis in vivo.” His faculty mentor was Mandi J. Lopez, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVS, professor in VCS. 

 

There was a tie for second place in the PhD category. Second place went to Lisa Brown, of Tyler, Texas., PhD student in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, for her project entitled, “Relationship between infection, dissemination and transmission of rickettsia Felix in cat fleas.” Her faculty mentor was Kevin Macaluso, PhD, Mary Louise Martin Professor. Second place also went to Victoria I. Verhoeve, of Saint Petersberg, Fla., PhD student in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences for her project entitled, “Identification of a full length transcript encoding a putative relish-type NF-kappa b protein DvRelish in dermacentor variablis.” Her faculty mentor was Kevin Macaluso, PhD, Mary Louise Martin Professor in PBS.

   

Winners in the Basic Research Student Competition (Master’s, undergraduate, veterinary students, and interns and residents)

First place went to Keith Jarrett, veterinarian student (2017), of New Orleans, La., for his project entitled, “The regression of Meckel’s cartilage relative to the development of the canine tympanic bulla. His mentor was Catrhyn Sparks, DVM, from the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, located in St. Kitts.

 

Second place went to Kelsie Stovall, of New Orleans, La., veterinarian student (2018), for her project entitled, “Transient receptor potential melastatin 4/7 channels are required for dental pulp stem cell proliferation.” Her faculty mentor was Henrique Cheng, DVM, PhD, associate professor in CBS.

 

There was a tie for third place in the Basic Research Student Competition category. Third place went to Allison P. Morreale, of San Diego, Ca., veterinarian student (2017), for her project entitled, “Neuronal migration abnormalities underlying autism spectrum disorders.” Her faculty mentor was Charles C. Lee, PhD, professor in CBS. Third place also went to Jonte Ellison, of New Orleans, La., undergraduate biological engineering student at LSU, for her project entitled, “Regulation of smoke-induced lung inflammation by the inflammasome NLRP12.” Her faculty mentor was Samithamby Jeyaseelan, DVM, PhD, professor in PBS.

 

Winners in the Clinical Research Student competition (Master’s, undergraduate, veterinary students, and interns and residents)

First place went to Daria L. DiGiovanni, DVM, of New York, Ny., equine surgery resident in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, for her project entitled, “Transient receptor potential melastatin 4/7 channels are required for dental pulp stem cell proliferation.” Her faculty mentor was Lorrie Gaschen, DVM, PhD, DECVDI, professor in VCS, associate dean of Diversity and Faculty Affairs. 

 

Second place went to Aubrey L. Hirsch, DVM, of Topeka, Ks., small animal medicine resident in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, for her project entitled, “Acute liver injury following adulticide treatment of Dirofilaria immitis in three dogs.” Her faculty mentor was Kirk Ryan, DVM, DACVIM, associate professor in the department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences.

 

Third place went to Kanako Sakaguchi, DVM, of Nagoya, Aichi, Japan, anatomic resident in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, for her project entitled, “Microsporidiosis in a bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps).” Her faculty mentor was Daniel Paulsen, DVM, PhD, DACVP, professor in PBS and director of the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

 

Winners in the Post-doctoral Category

There was a tie for first place in the Post-doctoral category. First place went to Ahmad Saied, PhD, DVM, DACVP, post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS), for his project entitled, “The amino terminus of HSV-1gK modulates TLR-2 dependent NF-kB activation during Herpes Keratitis.” His faculty mentor was Konstantin Kousoulas, MS, PhD, professor in PBS. First place also went to Hasan Mohammad Zaman, PhD, post-doctoral student in CBS, for his project entitled, “Epigenetic regulation of genes in second hand smoke-exposed ovalbumin challenged mice.” His faculty mentor was Arthur Penn, MS, PhD, professor in CBS.

 

Second place went to Claire Birkenheuer, PhD, of Lakewood, Co., post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, for her project entitled, “Cellular cyclin dependent kinase 8 is required for productive HSV1 gene expression and efficient virus replication.” Her faculty mentor was Joel Baines, Dean of the LSU SVM, VMD, PhD.

 

Phi Zeta would like to take this opportunity to thank the poster judges: Jay Addison, DVM, EQUI-VET, LLC; Mark Benfield, PhD, professor, School of the Coast and Environment, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences; Carrie Castille, PhD, associate commissioner, Public Policy and Governmental Affairs, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry; Vinod Dasa, MD, associate professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, LSU Health Sciences Center (New Orleans); Jason Dufour, DVM (LSU SVM 1998), assistant professor, Tulane National Primate Research Center; Tekeda Ferguson, PhD, assistant professor, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, School of Public Health; Jeff Hobden, PhD, associate professor, Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology; Deepak Kaushal, PhD, professor, Tulane National Primate Research Center; Chat Kleinpeter, DVM, owner and founder, Kleinpeter Equine Veterinary Services, LLC.; Roger Laine, PhD, professor, LSU Department of Biological Sciences/Chemistry; Mike MacLellan, PhD, associate professor, LSU School of Kinesiology; David McDougal, PhD, assistant professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Ken McMillin, PhD, professor, LSU Animal Science; Tanya Mestayer, DVM, veterinarian, Acadiana Animal Veterinary Clinic; John Moreau, MS, DVM (LSU SVM 1999), veterinarian, Lafayette Animal Emergency Clinic; Jennifer Rood, PhD, professor, chief, Clinical Research Laboratory, chief, Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Cristina Sabliov, PhD, professor, LSU Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department; Tim Slack, PhD, director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Sociology, Louisiana State University.

 

This day would not be possible without the support of Elanco, Fisher Scientific, Merck Animal Health, Nestlé Purina, Novartis, VWR and Zoetis.

 

Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day is sponsored by the Tau Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta, which was established on March 30, 1977, with Dr. C.W. Titkemeyer as Chapter President. Phi Zeta is the abbreviation of the Greek word Philozoi, which means “love of animals.”

 

Pictured from left to right: Dean Joel Baines, Keith Jarrett, Jonte Ellison,  Kelsie Stovall, Wei Duan, Dr. Aubrey Hirsch, Emma Harris, Lisa Brown, Victoria Verhoeve, Ahmad Saied, Dr. Claire Birkenheuer, Dr. Fabio Del Piero, Dr. Hasan Mohammand Zaman. Dr., Daria L. DiGiovanni and Dr. Kanako Sakaguchi are not pictured.

 

October 26, 2015