Spotlight Shines on Purdue Veterinary Medicine Research During Two-Days of Special Presentations
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Every April, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine sets aside a special day for celebrating research accomplishments. This year, the PVM Research Day was held Tuesday, April 11, with a keynote lecture that began the program in the morning and was followed by numerous talks by faculty and graduate student scholars during the rest of the day. An awards program at the end of the afternoon sessions recognized outstanding research presentations.
There also was a new element to this year’s emphasis on the college’s research that involved a companion event focused on industry partners that have an interest in the college’s research initiatives. The college’s first PVM Industry Partner Days brought nearly 20 industry representatives from nine different companies to the Purdue campus to hear and see first-hand how the college’s role in scientific discovery is impacting animal and human health and well-being.
The PVM Research Day and Industry Partner Days overlapped on Tuesday. As college faculty, staff, and students were participating in the PVM Research Day during the afternoon, the industry representatives had the opportunity to tour the new David and Bonnie Brunner Purdue Veterinary Medical Hospital Complex. They joined with the faculty, staff, and students that evening for the interactive Research Poster Session, which historically has been a key feature of the PVM Research Day featuring basic science and clinical/applied science research posters prepared by DVM and graduate student research scholars.
The intense two-days of focusing on PVM Research began fittingly enough with a keynote lecture Tuesday morning by Dr. Martin Gilbert, wildlife veterinarian and epidemiologist at Cornell University, who spoke about disease threats to tigers and their prey. He used topical examples to illustrate how pathogens can impact the viability of tiger populations by reducing the survival of adult tigers; reducing breeding productivity; and reducing the carrying capacity of tiger habitat through decreased prey abundance. He also addressed how these processes can impact approaches to research and inform mitigation priorities.
The PVM Research Day program is coordinated by Purdue’s Omicron Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta, which is the honor society of veterinary medicine. Following the keynote address, the chapter president, Dr. Rebecca Wilkes, associate professor of molecular diagnostics and Molecular and Virology section head in the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, recognized the spring 2023 Omicron Chapter inductees. They included eight members of the DVM Class of 2024, eleven members of the DVM Class of 2023, and several faculty members — two from the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, five from the Department of Comparative Pathobiology, and five from the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences.
The Research Day Program continued with oral presentations in parallel panel sessions organized around three topics: One Health, Modeling/Imaging, and Neurosciences. Following a lunch break, the afternoon portion of the program featured research presentations by residents and graduate students. A special highlight of the afternoon talks was a presentation by the recipient of the 2022 Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence, Dr. Dianne Little, associate professor of basic medical sciences, who spoke on the topic, “Non-Wovens for Rotator Cuff Tendon Tissue Engineering, But for Whom?”
Attendees reconvened in the Veterinary Medical Library for a reception and awards program, where several outstanding research presenters were recognized. Congratulations to the following award winners:
Phi Zeta Manuscript Award for Clinical/Applied Research: Dr. Carla Olave Olivare, large animal medicine resident, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
Phi Zeta Omicron Award: 1st place – Juan F. Hernandez-Franco, graduate research assistant in immunology in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology; 2nd place – Dr. Nelly Elshafie, graduate student in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology
PVM Graduate Student Award: 1st place – Naimur Rahman, graduate student in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences; 2nd place – Rodrigo Mohallem Ferreira, graduate research assistant in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology
Osborne Award Finalists: 1st place – Dr. Nicole Gibbs, small animal medicine resident in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences; 2nd place – Dr. Maxime Derré, small animal medicine resident in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences; 3rd place – Dr. Hamideh Esmaeilzadeh, resident in clinical pathology in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology.
Research Poster Awards:
Basic Science Category: 1st place – Annapoorani Jegatheesan, graduate research assistant in parasitology in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology; 2nd place – Jeanna Blake, graduate research assistant in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences
Clinical/applied Category: 1st place – Dr. Arielle Ostrager, neurology resident in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences; 2nd place – Dr. Go Togawa, neurology resident in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
DVM Student Category: 1st place – Kathryn Wolfert, of the DVM Class of 2024; 2nd place – Maria Yañez Díaz, of the DVM Class of 2025.
Following the presentation of awards, attendees were able to view the Research Poster Session. Researchers stood by their posters to talk about their research projects with faculty, staff, students and the industry representatives who were on hand for the PVM Industry Days.
On Wednesday, April 12, the Industry Partner Days program continued with a host of scholarly presentations about the variety of research being conducted in the college. The day began with welcoming remarks by Dean Reed, who emphasized the inaugural nature of the event. “Today we are here to have our faculty present their research to you. We are hopeful this will lead to further engagement,” Dean Reed explained. “So to our visitors today, your job is to ask questions and leave here with as much information as you need.”
He then introduced Dr. Karen Plaut, Purdue University executive vice president for research and former dean of the College of Agriculture, who set the stage for the numerous presentations that the industry representatives would have the opportunity to hear during the rest of the day. “We are a Carnegie 1 Research institution which means very high research activity,” Dr. Plaut said. “One of the things different about Purdue compared to our peer institutions is that we have a $600 million portfolio of research, but of that almost 30 percent is with industry partnerships, and that is unusual compared to the Big 10 and many of our peer institutions.” Dr. Plaut also noted that the university has creative approaches to partnerships, like master research agreements that make it possible to turn around projects quickly. She also emphasized that Purdue has a lot of new facilities, like the new veterinary hospitals that the industry representatives toured the day before.
Dr. Plaut continued by explaining that it’s not just the College of Veterinary Medicine. “There’s a whole university around this.” She pointed out special resources in the Purdue Discovery Park District like the Bindley Bioscience Center and Birck Nanotechnology building that have advanced equipment. “Around the university we have 134 centers and institutes for you to take advantage of and they go all the way from social sciences to the cancer center to quantum technology.” She also said another area of emphasis involves artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning centers and other technologies that are important for the future. “We are a university that believes in discovery to delivery. It’s not just about the basic science, it’s about bringing that basic science application that makes a difference in outcomes, really translating that research into something. And together with industry we can innovate faster and expand the reach and impact of what all of us do.”
Noting that this is the first time the college has hosted such an event, Dr. Plaut concluded by encouraging the participants to enjoy the day. “I hope you get a chance to learn a lot, a chance to network, meet new people and begin thinking of ways that we might partner together to support groundbreaking research and application as well as talent development.”
The rest of the day featured concise 20 minute presentations by 30 college faculty members from all three departments: Basic Medical Sciences, Comparative Pathobiology and Veterinary Clinical Sciences. The presentations were organized under several major headings, including Infectious Diseases, Comparative Oncology, Immunology and Vaccines, Neuroscience, Food Safety and Diagnostics, Orthopedics and Musculoskeletal Disease, Respiratory Medicine and Cardiology, and Ophthalmology and Metabolic Disease. A special lunch session also enabled the industry representatives to hear from the directors of the Center for Clinical Translational Research, the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, and the Clinical Pathology Laboratory. The event concluded with a reception that provided one more opportunity for sharing and networking between faculty and industry partners.
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