2019 BI Veterinary Scholars Program (Summer Scholars) wraps up

August 12, 2019

Since 2002, the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has held the BI Veterinary Scholars Program for students to conduct career-affirming research. After 10 weeks of research, participants present a poster at the CVM’s Points of Pride Research Day each October.

The “summer scholars” who have participated in the program have produced several projects that have resulted in a journal publication. The process allows participating students to better understand the role research plays in advancing veterinary medicine.

This year, 24 DVM students are participating in the program. Twenty-three of those are CVM students and one is from University of Pennsylvania. Three of these students are DVM/PhD dual-degree students at the CVM. At the end of the program, students traveled to Boston, Mass., for a conference July 25–27 where they each presented on their research projects. A winning poster presentation will be selected and announced at Points of Pride Research Day at the CVM on October 2.

This summer, one participant, Yelei Zheng, a second-year DVM student, performed research funded in part by the Stanley and Nancy Skadron Scholarship. The scholarship supports comparative cancer biology research and DVM student training in the Summer Scholars program. Zheng is using the funding to work with Kaylee Schwertfeger, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology in the U of M’s Medical School, on a project entitled “Role of FGFR-induced osteopontine as a T cell suppressor in breast cancer.” Zheng did her undergraduate studies at Sichuan Agricultural University in Ya'an, China.

“I used this summer to sharpen my biomedical experimental techniques, oral presentation capability, and time management skills,” Zheng says. “I learned a lot this summer working with a group of experienced, talented, and resilient researchers. Doing oncology research is never easy, but it is always going to be worth it.”

The late Stanley Skadron, ’57 DVM, was an active member of the CVM community. Skadron spent many years involved with the CVM’s alumni association and the larger veterinary community through the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association. He owned and ran Skadron Animal Hospital in West St. Paul for 50 years, which his son and daughter-in-law now run. When he passed away, his wife, Nancy, along with their children created a fund to honor him. 

If you would like to support comparative cancer biology research and DVM student training, please contact Mr. Bill Venne, Chief Development Officer, at venne025@umn.edu or 612-625-8480.