St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine student Zachary Pearl and Colorado State University veterinary medical student Emily Cotran presented 10 weeks of research at the 15th Annual Merial National Institutes of Health (NIH) Symposium, held at Cornell University this past summer. The Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposiumbrings together scientists and veterinary scholars from the US, Canada, and now the Caribbean who engaged in mentored research during the summer at veterinary schools, allowing them to present their findings and giving them the chance to learn from and interact with scientists from diverse fields and other veterinary student researchers.
Mr. Pearl and Ms. Cotran conducted field research at St. George’s alongside their mentors, Drs. Ravindra Sharma and Satesh Bidaisee, as part of the Island Veterinary Scholars Program (IVSP), which is funded by Merial, a Sanofi company; and NIH. Mr. Pearl investigated the effects of feed and rations on milk quality in goats, while Ms. Cotran investigated whether legislation serves as an effective mitigation toward the control of stray dog populations, a project done in collaboration with the Stray Dog Control Program and the Ministry of Health in Grenada.
“The objective of the program is to give veterinary students who have had little to no research experience the opportunity to learn about and actively participate in veterinary research,” stated Dr. Kathryn Gibson, IVSP Director. “There are a lot of rewarding and challenging aspects to research, and this summer experience allows the students to explore the opportunities available in veterinary research in their future careers, as well as to share this knowledge with other students.”
In addition to Mr. Pearl, two additional SGU students participated in the Merial Veterinary Scholars Program. Muzzammil Sayyid visited Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine looked at pluripotent stem cells and Brittany Edwards visited the University of Missouri where she investigated Chikungunya virus in mosquitoes.
This is the second group participating in the research program since SGU received its first grant from Merial in 2012. St. George’s University is one of two Caribbean universities to receive this grant, which was typically given to American and Canadian universities. The first two individuals who participated in the program were SGU student Lori Miller and a non-host student, Robert Schnurr, from Auburn University, who presented their research at the Merial-NIH Symposium in 2013 at the University of Michigan.