Veterinary Students Take a “Wild” Approach to Science

The Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) recognizes that animal health research is critically important to provide veterinarians with the tools they need to better prevent, diagnose and treat disease in their animal patients and to help wildlife survive. and thrive. The Foundation recently recognized veterinary students for their work to improve the health and welfare of wild animals around the world through the Veterinary Student Scholars (VSS) program competition.

MAF launched the VSS program five years ago as a way to offer veterinary students practical involvement in research early in their veterinary studies. Last summer, 24 veterinary students from around the world received funding for research projects that sought to improve the health and well-being of wildlife. Eighteen of those students presented posters showing their results at the February 2010 board of directors meeting in San Francisco. Members of MAF’s esteemed Wildlife Scientific Advisory Committee judged the poster contest. The winners received prizes of $ 5,000, $ 2,500 and $ 1,500 for first, second and third place respectively. Each winner was announced at a banquet held on Saturday 21 February 2010.

“These students are the future of veterinary medicine,” said Wayne Jensen, DVM, PhD, MBA, MAF scientific director. “By giving students the opportunity to work on MAF-funded projects while attending veterinary school, we hope to encourage them to consider a career in animal health research.”

The following are the winners of the 2010 competition:

* 1st place ($ 5,000): Viviana Gonzalez, University of La Salle (Colombia), “Frequency of Antibodies Against Leptospira interrogans in Primates of Family Cebidae in Two Zoos of Colombia” Portdoverpest.ca

* 2nd place ($ 2,500): Janessa Gjeltema, North Carolina State University, “Assessment of PAH Contamination in Puerto Rican Crested Toad Breeding Pool Using SPMD Technology”

* 3rd place ($ 1,500): Janis Hooge, Massey University (New Zealand), “Detection of Tick-borne Pathogens in Grant’s Gazelles: Using Molecular Techniques to Gain Basic Knowledge about the Health of a Important Antelope”

About Morris Animal Foundation:
Morris Animal Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 1948, is dedicated to funding animal health studies that protect, treat and care for companion animals, horses and wildlife. MAF has been at the forefront of funding innovative research studies benefiting animals on all seven continents. MAF is headquartered in Denver. Charity Navigator

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