The Veterinary Scholars Program 2014 Symposium

Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Program Symposium Gives Students the Inside Track on Careers in Research

The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program (BIVSP) enables veterinary schools to introduce first and second year veterinary medical students to biomedical research. By providing a supportive environment in which students help conduct research in an established laboratory, complemented by seminars and discussion groups on careers in science, the participants gain insight into careers in biomedical research.

Cornell University
July 31 – August 3, 2014

2014 Symposium Highlights

2014 Symposium Celebrated 25 Years of the Program

  • A large proportion of program participants actually end up with a career in science. To me, that's a clear long-term benefit of this program.
Past Symposia
Year Location
2000 University of Georgia
2001 University of Georgia
2002 Purdue University
2003 Kansas State University
2004 Auburn University
2005 University of Georgia
2006 Louisiana State University
2007 University of Pennsylvania and AAVMC at NIH
2008 Michigan State University
2009 North Carolina State University
2010 University of Georgia
2011 University of Florida
2012 Colorado State University
2013 Michigan State University
2014 Cornell University
Future Symposia
2015 University of California - Davis

Merial Veterinary Scholars Program Celebrates 25th Anniversary at Symposium

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Merial Veterinary Scholars Program (MVSP), which provides annual opportunities for veterinary schools to introduce first- and second-year veterinary students to biomedical research. The milestone anniversary was celebrated at the annual Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposium, held at Cornell University from July 31 through August 3.

"It's very appropriate that this year's Symposium, which is the culmination of the summer research program, should take place at Cornell," said Roberto Alva, Head of Clinical R&D, Americas East, Merial and executive director of the program. "When the program began in 1998, Cornell was one of the first two schools – along with the University of Pennsylvania – that participated." The program has been so successful in achieving its mission that within ten years it expanded to include all US veterinary schools. Recently it has also included veterinary programs in France and the Netherlands.

At each institution, Merial scholars are assigned to a mentor and laboratory. Each scholar conducts a hypothesis-driven research project developed jointly by the scholar and mentor over an 8-12 week period during the summer. At the end of the program, scholars present their findings to their fellow scholars and attending faculty. Scheduled activities providing opportunities for the students to learn about the broad aspects of research are also included.

The Merial-NIH Symposium has also grown tremendously in recent years. It has become the preeminent venue for the presentation of veterinary research by students and young researchers. The 2014 event attracted 640 participants, of which 191 were Merial-sponsored scholars. All of the researchers had the opportunity to present the results of their research in a scientific poster.

Following formal welcomes from Michael Kotlikoff, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, and from Fabian Kausche, Global Head of Research & Development, Merial, the Symposium opened with a provocative keynote address. Physician and best-selling author, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, Professor of Medicine at UCLA, challenged veterinary researchers to collaborate with and bring a greater understanding of animal diseases to their human-health colleagues.

Symposium attendees also had the opportunity to hear from a panel of top researchers in areas chosen to correlate with the Symposium's "One Health" theme: sustainability, genetics, cancer biology, and infectious disease. "The, 'One Health' theme emphasizes the impact of veterinary medicine on global sustainability, as well as on human and animal health and scientific discovery," said Joel Baines, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education, Cornell University, who headed this year's organizing committee.

Read about the 2014 award winners