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Summer Research Program for Veterinary Student

The School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) offers Summer Research Fellowships for 1st or 2nd year veterinary students from Utah State University and other veterinary schools around the world.

Faculty Mentor Selection:

Before applying for a summer research fellowship students need to identify a faculty mentor who will help them develop a research proposal. All faculty members of the Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences (ADVS) are eligible to serve as faculty mentors.

Reproduction and Development

Immunogenetics and Reproductive Immunology, Chris Davies, PhD, DVM

Program goals: To understand the immunological basis of immune-mediated abortion and placental insufficiency, and to develop and test strategies to down-regulate the immune response to the conceptus; To understand the role of the bovine major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes is disease resistance and susceptibility.

Reproductive Aging and Orthopedic Disease, Jeffery Mason, PhD

Program goals: To understand the impact of the ovarian microenvironment of health disparities in post-reproductive female mammals. An additional focus is the manifestation of these health disparities in orthopedic disease.

Large Animal Transgenic Models, Animal Cloning, Irina Polejaeva, PhD

Program goals: Production of transgenic animals using somatic cell nuclear transfer technology (SCNT or cloning) for biomedical and agricultural applications.

Equine Reproduction, Dirk Vanderwall, PhD, DVM

Program goal: To develop practical and effective strategies for utilizing oxytocin for suppression of estrus in performance mares.

Genome Engineering, Epigenetics and Stem Cells, Zhongde Wang, PhD

Program goals: Developing novel genome engineering tools for improving livestock (e.g. Mastitis resistance) and for creating transgenic animal models for human diseases; Establish embryonic stem cells from livestock species and from hamsters.

Reproduction & Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Ken White, PhD

Program goals: to understand genetic reprogramming in SCNT embryos; To improve the survival of SCNT fetuses; To explain the process of oocyte activation in cattle; To develop large animal models for biomedical research.

Application for a Summer Research Fellowship

Applications are due the second Friday in February and are comprised of: (1) a cover page; (2) a research proposal prepared in consultation with a faculty mentor; (3) a letter from the applicant describing the anticipated benefits of the experience; and (4) a statement from the faculty mentor. 

Application Review Process:

Applications will be reviewed by the three-member SVM Student Research Committee. Criteria include: 1) scientific merit, 2) clarity of presentation, 3) perceived level of student participation in preparation of the application and execution of the project, 4) faculty mentor commitment to the project (i.e., does the mentor have a strong record of research in the area of the application as evidenced by publications and/or extramural funding). Applicants will receive written notification of whether or not they will receive a fellowship within two weeks of the original submission date.


Applicants cannot be concurrently enrolled in a graduate degree program. At least two positions each year are reserved for students from veterinary schools other than USU. This program is designed to offer veterinary students an opportunity to engage in cutting-edge biomedical research over a 12-week period during the summer. The summer research program offers veterinary students an opportunity to discover the benefit of a veterinary career that includes research and to evaluate research as a career option.

Successful applicants will receive a $5,000 summer stipend. The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program provides partial support for this program. Participants are expected to make a full-time commitment to their research project for a 12-week period between the beginning of May and the end of August.

For More Information:

Questions regarding the Summer Research Fellowship program can be directed to the chair of the SVM Student Research Committee, Dr. Ralph Meyer (E-mail or telephone 435-797-1774).