Program Description


Extramural support from a Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation grant and a NIH T35 training grant are combined with significant support from the Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine, and enable students to participate in this program. Students supported by NIH funds will be chosen from applications that focus on problems or models important to human health. Regardless of the source of funding the Summer Scholars Program is the same and students participate in the program as one group. The program has two components. The major activity is focused on the Scholars' mentored, independent research project. Other group functions include lectures, discussions, social events and field trips to research institutions in the area.

Plans, Progress, and Presentations

Research plans will be developed by students with faculty mentor input, on any topic of interest to the student and likely to lead to the discovery of new information. Example topics include: immunology and infectious diseases, cancer biology, molecular epidemiology, experimental studies focused on nutrition and obesity, pharmacology, environmental toxicology, mechanisms of pathogenesis, zoonoses, biomechanics, cardiovascular pathophysiology, and others. The mentor and other advisors will provide guidance to students and an assessment of progress. Students will provide, at completion of the study, an oral presentation of their results to their colleagues and all mentors, and a presentation of results via posters at the annual Boehringer Ingelheim Summer Symposium to be held at the University of California in San Diego, California, and at the LSU Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day.  It is noteworthy that of the 17 awards given at the 2016 MS Thesis and professional student/house officer level, our summer research program students won four; 1st, 2nd and two 3rd place awards in the Basic Research Category.  LSU Students will receive elective credit in the curriculum (VMED 5010 or VMED 5463) for successful completion of the program.  Students will be strongly encouraged to work with their mentors to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals separately or as a smaller piece of work with their mentors.

Extra-research program activities for student scholars will be an integral part of the program aimed at expanding the students’ understanding of opportunities for veterinarians in biomedical research, and at enhancing the research culture of the student group.

These activities will include

  • An orientation meeting at the time of award on the aims, organization, and expectations of the program, and the support available for conducting research projects.
  • A series of one-hour lecture/discussions presented by faculty during the initial week on Experimental Design and Statistical Methods, Ethics in Research, Responsible Conduct of Research Issues, Animal Welfare Issues, Authorship, Grantsmanship and Writing, and an introduction to SVM central service facilities (Tissue and Organ Culture, GeneLab, Electron Microscopy, FACS, and Analytical Chemistry), an Introduction to Power Point Presentations, and an Introduction to poster preparation by the Bio-communications Unit of the SVM.
  • Bi-weekly (5) one-hour group workshops to report and discuss each student scholars’ progress.
  • Three to five scientific presentations and discussions are held with notable local scientists on contemporary topics such as Stem Cell Biology, Translational Biology, and Modern Vaccinology.
  • Two field trips are scheduled to regional research centers. These will include the Tulane National Primate Research Center, and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Presentations of ongoing research activities and the organizational structure and culture of the institutions are described.   Both are partners with us in this program. Additional trips are planned to the LSU Center for
  • Emerging Technologies (a biotechnology incubator), and the LSU School of Public Health in New Orleans.
  • Informal evening social activities will be held for mentors and student scholars and their guests, during the first week, and at summer’s end.
  • An additional team building exercise with students and mentors includes a float trip down the Amite River, will be held mid-summer.
  • Presentation of research results will occur orally, at the Symposium, and at the Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day.
  • Oral PowerPoint presentation of results at the end of the summer prior to the symposium. All mentor laboratory personnel will be invited.
  • Exit interview of student scholars following the Merial Symposium by Dr. Cardin (Director) and Drs. Taboada, Leise, and Saini (Co-Directors) as well as available Advisory Committee members.