Veterinary Summer Scholars Program provides research opportunities for students

August 25, 2023

From May through August, twenty-six LSU Vet Med veterinary students conducted research as part of the Veterinary Summer Scholars Program, which serves to further students’ learning and experiences in research beyond the required classroom and clinical training.

The program is competitive and based on proposals submitted by first- and second-year veterinary students. The program encourages innovative studies in human and animal diseases and lends further understanding to veterinary careers in biomedical research. Each year, the NIH selects medical and veterinary schools to participate in its T35 summer biomedical research program, and LSU has received the funding for the eighteenth consecutive year.

Each student received a stipend and attended the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 3-5. This conference brings together scientists from academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and NIH leadership in one setting and allows the students to present their research, learn more about research careers and opportunities, and network with students and research scientists from other veterinary schools.

To participate in the Summer Scholars program, the students developed their own research plan proposals with the guidance of a faculty member, and a faculty committee selected the participants based on the proposals. All first- and second-year veterinary students throughout the country and abroad had the opportunity to submit proposals. The program is coordinated by Britta Leise, DVM (LSU 2002), PhD, DACVS, associate dean of staff and faculty advancement and associate professor of equine surgery; Joseph Francis, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, associate dean for research and graduate education and professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS); Andrew Lewin, BVM&S, DACVO, assistant professor of veterinary ophthalmology in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences; Yogesh Saini, BVSc, MS, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences; and Joseph Taboada, DVM, DACVIM, professor of small animal internal medicine in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences (VCS).

This summer, LSU Vet Med research projects were funded by the National Institutes of Health, Boehringer-Ingelheim, the Kenneth F. Burns Trust, the LSU Vet Med Equine Health Studies Program, the Morris Animal Foundation, and LSU.

2023 Summer Scholars Projects

Student Graduation Year Title Mentor Funding Source
Christian Arias 2025 A pilot study to determine the effects of Megasphaera elsdenii on the fecal pH, fecal and blood lactic acid concentration, and the fecal microbiome in horses transitioned to a high concentrate low roughage diet Frank Andrews Equine Health Studies Program
Lucy Barre 2026 Analysis of proliferation of genetically modified spotted fever group (SFG) Rickettsia species in mammalian cells Juan Martinez National Institutes of Health
Katie Black 2026 The mechanical influence of head, neck, and shoulder muscle attachments on osteoderm development in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis): Implications for understanding heterotopic ossification disorders Brook Dubansky Kenneth F. Burns Trust
Emma Christopher 2026 Analysis of Adhesion Proteins in High-Grade Soft Tissue Sarcomas Sita Withers National Institutes of Health
Maryella Cohn 2025 Determining the Pharmacokinetic Properties of Two Different Doses of Hydromorphone in Barred Owls (Strix varia) Mark Mitchell Morris Animal Foundation
Alanna Costas-Ormas 2026 Role of Entresto in Doxorubicin Induced Cardiotoxicity Joseph Francis National Institutes of Health
Meridith Helms-Pack 2025 Effects of sedatives on the corticosterone response of Hispaniolan Amazon parrots (Amazona ventralis) Thomas Tully Boehringer Ingelheim
Jon LaCour 2025 Effects of maternal obesity on oocyte aging in female offspring of the BPH/5 preeclamptic-like mouse Jenny Sones Kenneth F. Burns Trust
Michelle McIntyre 2026 Linked Resistance to Arachidonic acid and Vancomycin in Staphylococcus aureus Willam Beavers National Institutes of Health
Ciara Miller 2025 Morphological evaluation of canine humeral bone symmetry Alberto Gines LSU
Gwyneth Miller 2025 Whole Body Analysis of Degenerative Joint Disease of the Fetlocks: A Case Study Michelle Osborn Boehringer Ingelheim
Trace Presley 2025 Update on Synovial Fluid Analysis in Adult Dairy Cattle Andrew Muir LSU
Taina Rodriguez 2025 Characterization of postmortem trauma after a fall-from-heights in dogs and cats Nanny Wenzlow LSU
Patrik Rollefson 2025 Effects of developmental exposure to Bisphenol A and Bisphenol S on the behavioral response to acute stressors: A common environmental contaminant with potential health impacts. Ahmed Abdelmoneim National Institutes of Health
Daniela Saade 2026 Is feline calicivirus (FCV) a corneal pathogen in cats? An in-vitro assessment utilizing feline corneal epithelial cells. Andrew Lewin Boehringer Ingelheim
Phillip Saint Martin 2025 Dopamine-glutamate interaction in normal motor function,and their dysregulation in Parkinson’s disease Olalekan Ogundele Kenneth F. Burns Trust
Dominic Scheurer 2026 Designing a method to deliver non-invasive pulsed electromagnetic field therapy to raptors Kielyn Scott LSU
William Sitterson 2025 Ketamine Interventions in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease Charles Lee  
Nicole Torres 2025 The Effect of Targeted Pulse Electromagnetic Field Therapy on Canine Osteoarthritis of the Coxofemoral Joint Mandi Lopez LSU
Christina Ulsh 2025 Widening the Veterinary Forensics Arsenal of Evidence: Characterization of High Velocity Impact Points to Canine Integument Nanny Wenzlow Kenneth F. Burns Trust
Janay Velez-Leon 2025 Can specfic miRNAs be used as biomarkers to determine pain in horses with colic? Britta Leise Equine Health Studies Program
Jordan Vivien 2025 Assessing the phenotypic adaptation of serially passaged Orthobunyaviruses Rebecca Christofferson National Institutes of Health
Corrine Wang 2026 Measuring the Prevalence and Treatment Success for Ectoparasites and Endoparasites from Native Wildlife Presented to the Wildlife Hospital of Louisiana Mark Mitchell National Institutes of Health
Katherine Wolf 2026 Rate of Glucose and Lactate Concentration Changes Over Time in Processed and Unprocessed Canine Blood Samples Ryan Smith National Institutes of Health
Yan Zermeno-Salinas 2026 Thalamic regulation of higher auditory information processing Charles Lee Kenneth F. Burns Trust


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The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 33 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. LSU Vet Med is dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of animals and people through superior education, transformational research, and compassionate care. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.