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Veterinary Students Take a "Wild" Approach to Science

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Tina M. Martinez, 800.243.2345

Morris Animal Foundation Rewards Three Students for Research to Improve the Health of Wildlife

March 10, 2010

DENVER - Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) recognizes that animal health research is critically important for giving veterinarians the tools they need to better prevent,  diagnose and treat illness in their animal patients and to help wild species survive and thrive. The Foundation recently  honored veterinary students for their work to improve the health and welfare of wild animals throughout the world through its Veterinary Student Scholars (VSS) Program competition.

MAF launched the VSS Program five years ago as a way to give veterinary students hands-on involvement in research early in their veterinary studies. Last summer, 24 veterinary students from around the world were awarded funds for research projects that sought to improve the health and well-being of wildlife.  Eighteen of those students presented posters showing their  results at MAF's February 2010 board meeting in San Francisco. Members of MAF's esteemed wildlife scientific advisory board judged the poster competition. Winners received awards of  $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500 for first, second and third place, respectively. Each winner was announced during a banquet held Saturday, February 21, 2010.

"These students are the future of veterinary medicine," said Wayne Jensen, DVM, PhD, MBA, MAF chief scientific officer. "By giving students the opportunity to work on MAF-funded projects while they are in veterinary school, we hope to encourage them to consider a career in animal health research."

The following are the winners of the 2010 competition:

1st place ($5,000): Viviana Gonzalez, University of La Salle (Colombia), "Frequency of Antibodies Against Leptospira interrogans in Primates of Family Cebidae in Two Zoos of Colombia"

2nd place ($2,500): Janessa Gjeltema, North Carolina State University, "Assessment of PAH Contamination in Puerto Rican Crested Toad Breeding Pool Using SPMD Technology"

3rd place ($1,500): Janis Hooge, Massey University (New Zealand), "Detection of Tick-borne Pathogens in Grant's Gazelles: Using Molecular Techniques to Gain Basic Health Knowledge About an Important Antelope"

Watch a short video from Viviana Gonzalez, winner of the 2010 VSS wildlife poster competition.


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