Nineteen students spend the summer conducting research as part of the Veterinary Summer Scholars Program

Photo composite of Summer Scholars students

For Immediate Release: June 9, 2021

BATON ROUGE—Nineteen students are participating in the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (LSU SVM) Veterinary Summer Scholars Program, an introduction to biomedical research through research-driven activities.  The LSU SVM Veterinary Summer Scholars Program is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Boehringer-Ingelheim, the Kenneth F. Burns Trust, the Comparative Gastroenterology Society, the Morris Animal Foundation, the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Foundation, and the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. The program culminates in an international 2021 Veterinary Summer Scholars Symposium is coordinated by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges and Iowa State University.

The Summer Scholars Program 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 seventeenth consecutive year. 

Each student will receive a $6,459 stipend. The LSU SVM and the NIH will also sponsor the students’ participation at the [virtual] 2021 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium, hosted by Iowa State University from August 4-6. 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 SVM 2002), PhD, DACVS, associate dean of faculty affairs and associate professor of equine surgery; Joseph Francis, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, associate dean for research and advanced studies and professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS); 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).

The recipients of the NIH Biomedical Research Experience for Veterinary Students Awards are as follows:

Daniella Adams (Class of 2024), from McLean, Va., is working with Jenny Sones, DVM (LSU SVM 2008), PhD, DACT, assistant professor of theriogenology in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Effect of maternal obesity on placental, fetal, and maternal outcomes in a mouse model of preeclampsia, BPH/5.”

Rebecca Broussard (Class of 2023), from Baton Rouge, La., is working with Joseph Francis, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, associate dean for research and advanced studies and professor in Comparative Biomedical Sciences, on a project entitled “In vitro and in vivo effects of blueberries on doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity.”

Alexandra Cerrato (Class of 2023), from Kingwood, Texas, is working with Joseph Francis, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, associate dean for research and advanced studies and professor of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, on a project entitled “In vitro effects of resveratrol on doxorubicin treated cardiomyocytes.”

Samantha Clark (Class of 2024), from New Orleans, La., is working with Konstantin “Gus” Kousoulas, PhD, head of the department of Pathobiological Sciences, on a project entitled “Evaluating the oncolytic potential of Herpes Simples Virus-1 mutant (VC2) using murine breast cancer model.”

Rachel Dufour (Class of 2024), from Memphis, Tenn., is working with Joel Baines, VMD, PhD, dean of the LSU SVM and professor in Pathobiological Sciences, on a project entitled “Role of a HSV strain lacking a22 on the movement of RNA Polymerase II down the viral gene.”

Payton Tripp (Class of 2024), from Covington, La., is working with Alberto Gines, DVM, MS, DACVS, assistant professor of small animal surgery in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Evaluation of 3D printed tendon scaffolds for tissue engineering.”

Max Veenema (Class of 2023), from Grand Rapids, Mich., is working with Alberto Gines, DVM, MS, DACVS, assistant professor of small animal surgery in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Evaluating the accuracy of two 3D surface scanners when compared to anatomical measurements of distal canine pelvic limbs.”

Jordyn Zoul (University of Wisconsin Class of 2023), from Lake Forest, Ill., is working with Britta Leise, DVM (LSU SVM 2002), PhD, DACVS, associate dean of faculty affairs and associate professor of equine surgery in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Evaluation of neuropathic pain mediators in acute and chronic laminitis.”

The recipients of the Boeringer-Ingelheim Summer Research Awards are as follows:

 Elizabeth Benton-Levith (Class of 2023), from Ponchatoula, La., is working with Colin Mitchell, BVMS, MS, DACVS, director of LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital Large Animal Services and professor of equine surgery in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Anesthetic management and complications in non-septic and septic foals undergoing general anesthesia for umbilical resection.”

Zoey Lex (Class of 2023), from Shreveport, La., is working with Mark Mitchell, DVM, PhD (LSU SVM 2001), DECZM, professor of zoological medicine in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Determining pharmacokinetic properties of ceftiofur crystalline free acid and meloxicam in barred owls (Strix varia) undergoing rehabilitation.”

Meera Patel (Class of 2023), from Barlett, Tenn., is working with Heidi Banse, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, director of education and assistant professor of equine medicine in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Prevalence of and risk factors for equine gastric glandular disease in saddlebred horses.”

Jennifer Windham (Class of 2024), from Addis, La., is working with Frank Andrews, DVM, MS, DACVIM, head of the department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and professor of equine medicine in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Racehorse Safety in Louisiana (2009-2021).”

The recipients of the Kenneth F. Burns Veterinary Student Awards were as follows:

Jena Dicharry (Class of 2023), from Gonzales, La., is working with Thomas Tully, DVM (LSU SVM 1986), MS, DABVP, professor of zoological medicine in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “A comparison of Amazon parrot blood gas values on the i-Stat and EPOC.”

Nashelys Ortiz Negron (Class of 2024), from San Juan, Puerto Rico, is working with Olalekan Ogundele, BSc, MS, PhD, assistant professor in Comparative Biomedical Sciences, on a project entitled “Comparative distribution of VTA glutamate- and dopamine-releasing terminals in the medial prefrontal cortex.”

Sabrina Valdes (Class of 2023), from Houston, Texas, is working with Udeni Balasuriya, BVSc, MS, PhD, FSLCVS, director of the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and professor in Pathobiological Sciences, on a project entitled “Detection of tick-borne pathogens by real-time PCR (qPCR) and immunohistochemical staining.”

Kaitlynn Willis (Class of 2024), from Pitkin, La., is working with Andrea Johnston, DVM, DACVIM, assistant professor of small animal internal medicine in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Hepatocyte ploidy in dogs with hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatitis.”

The recipient of the Comparative Gastroenterology Society Student Award is as follows:

Katelyn Setzer (Class of 2023), from West Monroe, La., is working with Andrea Johnston, DVM, DACVIM, assistant professor of small animal internal medicine in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Prevalence of Heterobihaarzia americana in normal dogs from Louisiana.”  

The recipient of the Morris Animal Foundation Award is as follows:

Morgan Marino (Class of 2023), from Brusly, La., is working with Andrew Lewin, BVM&S, DACVO, assistant professor of veterinary ophthalmology in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, on a project entitled “Phylogenomic assessment of Feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1) in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus).”

The recipient of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Foundation Award is as follows:

Daila Badamo (Class of 2024), from Rockville, Md., is working with Joseph Francis, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, associate dean for research and advanced studies and professor in Comparative Biomedical Sciences, on a project entitled “Investigating the role of Caveolin- 1 in cellular response to drug-induced oxidative stress.”

About the LSU SVM

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 32 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. The LSU SVM is dedicated to improving the lives of people and animals through education, research, and service. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.

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