National Veterinary Scholars Symposium Showcases Veterinary Medical Research

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 17, 2021 – Almost 900 people convened for the virtual 2021 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium (NVSS), an annual scientific gathering that showcases veterinary medical student research. Hosted by the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the meeting was held August 4-6. The massive virtual gathering of students, faculty, university and business representatives heard from a prestigious cast of keynote speakers and attended a variety of informational and networking sessions – all centered around the essential role of veterinary medical research.

Students participating in the program conduct a hypothesis-driven research project developed jointly by the student scholar and faculty mentor, which is typically conducted over an 8-12 week period during the summer. The results are then shared in the end-of-summer research symposium. Hundreds of posters and abstracts were available during the event.

“The College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University was honored to host and present the 2021 National Veterinary Student Symposium,” said Dr. Dan Grooms, the Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the Iowa State University CVM. “The work presented by veterinary students was incredible and no doubt will help to answer important questions that will impact animals, humans and the environment. Importantly, their experiences will have a profound impact on their future success as a proud member of the veterinary profession.”

The annual showcase of veterinary medical research was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The American Veterinary Medical Association sponsored production of the 370 page abstract booklet.

“Boehringer Ingelheim is delighted to continue our long-standing support of veterinary research by sponsoring this National Veterinary Scholars Symposium that will enable veterinary students and young researchers to share the results of their summer research, and we especially welcome this year’s Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars,” said Eric Haaksma, Head of Animal Health Global Innovation, Boehringer Ingelheim. “Now more than ever we realize the importance of developing and nurturing scientists with the skills and training to fulfill our needs for comparative animal research, animal and human food safety, and drug development if we are to continue to advance biomedical research.”

Registrants heard from three respected keynote speakers throughout the three-day event.

  • Dr. Kathryn M. Jones, associate professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Section of Tropical Medicine, and Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, discussed “Addressing the Global Burden of Chagas Disease.”
  • Dr. Jim Roth, a Distinguished Professor in the ISU-CVM, National Academy of Medicine member, and former National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity member discussed “Infectious Disease Control Through Research, Policy Development, and Education.”
  • Dr. Liara Gonzalez, associate professor of gastroenterology and equine surgery at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) Diplomate, discussed “Intestinal Regenerative Medicine: Targeting Key Stem Cells to Enhance Intestinal Viability.”

The meeting featured a variety of breakout sessions that provided students with a chance to obtain career advice from experts regarding academic programs and career pathways leading to careers in academia, government and corporate practice as well as opportunities in various areas of veterinary medicine and science.

A special Combined Degree Colloquium with programming specifically designed for students pursuing dual professional and PhD programs was held in conjunction with the event.

Six leading veterinary researchers were recognized with 2021 AVMA Excellence in Research Awards and Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Research Awards during the event.

“The AAVMC is proud to collaborate with Iowa State University on the presentation of the 2021 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium,” said American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew T. Macccabe. “We’re especially grateful to Boehringer Ingelheim for their continued and generous support of this symposium, and we appreciate our partnerships with the National Institutes of Health and the AVMA, which sponsored the symposium proceedings. We share an appreciation for the important role this event plays in helping our students gain experience, develop their skills and consider careers in this vital area of our profession.”

The AAVMC would like to acknowledge the planning committees and other volunteers that worked so hard to produce the symposium. Members of the National Planning Committee included Dr. Qijing Zhang, the Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies at Iowa State University; Dr. Brad Blitvich, interim assistant dean of graduate studies and research training at Iowa State University; and Karen Barker, grants specialist, Iowa State University.

The 2022 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium will be hosted by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.


The member institutions of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) promote and protect the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment by advancing the profession of veterinary medicine and preparing new generations of veterinarians to meet the evolving needs of a changing world. Founded in 1966, the AAVMC represents more than 40,000 faculty, staff and students across the global academic veterinary medical community. Our member institutions include veterinary medical colleges and schools in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand as well as departments of veterinary science and departments of comparative medicine in the U.S.

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