Research Day Resumes Virtually for Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine
After a Pandemic-induced Hiatus, Annual PVM Research Day Once Again Showcases Faculty and Student Scholarship
A longstanding tradition that annually highlights research by graduate students, interns, residents, veterinary students, and faculty returned to the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in April, albeit in a virtual format, after a one year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally held as an in-person program, the PVM Research Day features a day-long focus on basic science and clinical/applied research in veterinary and comparative medicine.
Typically scheduled in April, the Research Day had to be cancelled last year when the pandemic shuttered college campuses and students were sent home as classes were transitioned to virtual settings. A year later, the stage was set for the College of Veterinary Medicine to offer the PVM Research Day on April 13 as a combination of live virtual presentations on the Zoom platform and pre-recorded lectures and research posters accessible via a website. It also was convenient that the day coincided with one of three “reading days” scheduled by the University as part of a modified academic calendar to help offset the loss of spring break, which was cancelled to avoid mass travel to and from campus in the middle of the semester.
Affiliated with the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Omicron Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta, which is the honor society of veterinary medicine in the U.S., the research day is designed to spotlight scientific discovery in the college that enhances the well-being of animals and people. After a welcome by Dean Willie Reed, the program began with a virtual keynote presentation featuring Dr. Paul Plummer, professor and Anderson Endowed Chair of Veterinary Sciences at Iowa State University, and the executive director of the National Institute of Microbial Resistance Research and Education. Dr. Plummer also is a member of the Presidential Advisory Council for Combating Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria, which is responsible for providing advice, information, and recommendations to the federal government regarding programs and policies intended to support and evaluate the implementation of U.S. government activities related to combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Dr. Plummer’s talk entitled “Lessons from the One Health Interface” was viewed by more than 70 virtual attendees.
Other elements of the event included virtual poster presentations that covered three dozen different research projects in three categories: Basic Science Research, Clinical and Applied Research, and Research by DVM Students who participated in scholarship with faculty mentors through the Veterinary Research Scholars Summer Program. Additionally, lecture presentations were given by a number of graduate students, residents, and faculty, including Associate Professor of Basic Medical Sciences Marxa Figueiredo who gave a talk as the recipient of the 2020 Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence. She spoke on the topic, “Osteo-Immune Therapeutics for Metastatic Prostate Tumors and Bone.”
The day concluded with the announcement of a number of awards for meritorious research accomplishments, including the best poster presentations and scholarly lectures. A new award honoring faculty mentors also was announced. The Boehringer Ingelheim Summer Research Mentorship Award was established to recognize a faculty mentor who has demonstrated a special effort in support of the college’s Veterinary Research Scholars Summer Program. The program provides an opportunity for DVM students and pre-vet undergraduate students to gain research experience under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and the program’s success depends greatly on the involvement and effort of the mentors. The inaugural recipient is Dr. Deepti Pillai, clinical assistant professor of diagnostic microbiology in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology. A number of veterinary students, residents, and faculty members also were initiated as new members of the Omicron Chapter of Phi Zeta as part of the PVM Research Day.
“This was a wonderful day,” said Dr. Harm HogenEsch, PVM associate dean for research, who thanked the Phi Zeta officers for their work organizing and helping with the event, as well as several staff members, including Susan Xioufaridou, director of alumni relations and special events, for moderating the sessions; Wright Frazier, director of web communications, for putting everything on the website for the event; and Erin Lane, administrative assistant for the PVM Office of Research, for all of her efforts helping to coordinate the day.
The Omicron Chapter President, Dr. Janice Kritchevsky, professor of large animal internal medicine, concluded the day by explaining how the PVM Research Day was a reflection of where we are with COVID-19. Recalling how the event had to be cancelled last year, Dr. Kritchevsky said, “… here, 12 months later, we have adapted and could do it all online. I think it came together really well. Next year, hopefully, we will be able to meet in-person again.”
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