A University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine student received funding from Morris Animal Foundation to conduct a summer research project. Zoe Koestel, a second-year veterinary student, is investigating whether dietary exposure to the chemical bisphenol A is causing health problems in dogs. In this study, Koestel is working in the laboratory of Cheryl Rosenfeld, DVM, PhD, at the Bond Life Sciences Center to examine whether consumption of one of two brands of dog food that may contain varying amounts of bisphenol A due to how each food is packaged could affect the gut microbiome and lead to other health disturbances. The investigators are not deliberately exposing dogs to this chemical.
Since 2005, Morris Animal Foundation has encouraged veterinary students to pursue research experience through its Veterinary Student Scholars program. This year, the program is funding 25 students to conduct mentored research projects at 25 different schools of veterinary medicine across the nation and abroad.
“The Veterinary Student Scholars program provides summer research opportunities that ignite an interest in research careers for our students,” said Barbara Wolfe, DVM, PhD, chief scientific officer of Morris Animal Foundation. “The students learn from top-notch researchers how to design and conduct animal health research; we are excited to see the outcomes of this summer’s work.”
The scholars program was created to tackle the growing shortage of animal health scientists needed to pursue answers to complex questions impacting animal health. In 2016, the foundation is funding $125,000 in Veterinary Student Scholars grants. Other funded studies include:
Morgan Halley, University of California, Davis, is studying the effect of environmental enrichment on body weight in obese cats.
Sophie Eiger is developing novel stromal cell-targeted approaches to treat canine mammary gland tumors.
Sydney Davis, Ross University, is looking at the metabolic and immune system responses to physical activity in bottlenose dolphins.
“By offering research training opportunities for veterinary students, the Foundation is helping to build the next generation of scientists who will be asked to tackle some highly challenging health problems,” Wolfe said. “These include emerging infectious diseases, environment-related illnesses, and lifestyle-related health conditions we see impacting more animals every day. As a profession and as individuals concerned about advancing the science of animal health, we want to do all that we can to foster a passion for research in tomorrow’s veterinarians.”