After an unprecedented spring semester reached its conclusion at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, some students embarked on summer break ready to reboot, recharge, and prepare for fall semester. Others participated in the College’s summer research programs.
The College offers mentored summer research opportunities for DVM students. These programs are funded by grants provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), industry leaders, endowed funds from alumni and donors, and College and University resources. In addition, the College hosts the Biomedical Research for University Students in Health Sciences (BRUSH) Program for undergraduate and veterinary students. The BRUSH Program serves students from populations underrepresented in biomedical research and is funded by NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and MSU.
The summer research programs keep the learning going during the summer months. Students gain hands-on research experience, which prepares them for potential graduate school, or—for the undergraduate students—for professional school.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s program featured all remote activities.
“Remote learning moved all our interactions to Zoom, of course, but that did not stop us from developing a sense of community among the participants,” says Dr. Susan Ewart, director of BRUSH. “All the students spent a lot of time together during our week of orientation and also at weekly meetings to discuss current topics in research and research-based careers. In addition, the BRUSH students had game night once a week and also met as a group three afternoons each week to discuss their research and progress.”
In past years, summer research students traveled to the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium where they presented their research. This year, the symposium is being held online, so student presentations were modified to suit the virtual event format.
“The type of research projects the students pursued was modified due to the online format and included extensive literature searches, image analyses, sequence alignments, and other computational-based work that could be done entirely online,” says Ewart. “This required some creative thinking on the part of the mentors to design suitable projects, and they came up with great ones!”
After months of hard work, students in the College’s summer research programs summed up their efforts in multimedia educational presentations for members of the public. From the core body temperatures of mice to COVID-19 and pets, their knowledge encompasses a wide breadth of animal and human health topics. Check out their work below.