Summer Scholars Program Description

LSU Vet Med Students

The number of awards given will be dependent on available funding. In past years, 16-21 students have been funded through the program. Students are urged to select a mentor from the list provided. It may be useful to contact several potential mentors. Do not limit these contacts to faculty you have had as instructors. Mentors who have active ongoing research programs will be able to help you develop and conduct your project. These projects are often a small part of an ongoing larger study in the mentor’s laboratory. It should be clear that the project will be done by you with help where needed. You will not be “just a lab helper.” Note you will also likely be asked to assist with other research being conducted by the research group. There is a wide and diverse array of opportunities. Search the units’ web sites below and in the list of mentors to find a faculty member conducting research in your area of interest.

Non-LSU Vet Med Students

At least two qualified students from other veterinary colleges are being sought to bring regional diversity to our program. The application process is as described for LSU students with the exception that additional assistance will be provided in identifying a mentor. The description of the work required is the same as described for LSU Vet Med students above.

Special assistance is given to students via e-mail, telephone or zoom to select a potential mentor and to formulate the application and proposal. Selection criteria include: 1. Student grade point average, ranking in their class, academic background, interest in research, and relevance to their career goals 2. Feasibility of the potential research projects, and value as a learning experience, 3. Level of support and guidance expected to be provided by their mentor.

Extramural support from a Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation grant and a NIH T35 training grant are combined with significant support from the Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine, and enable students to participate in this program. Students supported by NIH funds will be chosen from applications that focus on problems or models important to human health. Regardless of the source of funding the Summer Scholars Program is the same and students participate in the program as one group. The program has two components. The major activity is focused on the Scholars' mentored, independent research project. Other group functions include lectures, discussions, social events and field trips to research institutions in the area.

Research plans will be developed by students with faculty mentor input, on any topic of interest to the student and likely to lead to the discovery of new information. Example topics include: immunology and infectious diseases, cancer biology, molecular epidemiology, experimental studies focused on nutrition and obesity, pharmacology, environmental toxicology, mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, zoonoses, biomechanics, cardiovascular pathophysiology, and others. 

The mentor and other advisors will provide guidance to students and an assessment of progress. Students will provide, at completion of the study, an oral presentation of their results to their colleagues and all mentors, and a presentation of results via posters at the annual Boehringer Ingelheim Summer Scholars Symposium and at the LSU Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day. LSU Students will receive elective credit in the curriculum (VMED 5010 or VMED 5463) for successful completion of the program. Students will be strongly encouraged to work with their mentors to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals separately or as a smaller piece of work with their mentors.

Extra-research program activities for student scholars will be an integral part of the program aimed at expanding the students’ understanding of opportunities for veterinarians in biomedical research, and at enhancing the research culture of the student group.

These program activities include

  • An orientation meeting at the time of award on the aims, organization, and expectations of the program, and the support available for conducting research projects.
  • A series of one-hour lecture/discussions presented by faculty during the initial weeks on Experimental Design and Statistical Methods, Ethics in Research, Responsible Conduct of Research Issues, Animal Welfare Issues, Authorship, Grantsmanship and Writing, and an introduction to LSU Vet Med central service facilities (Tissue and Organ Culture, GeneLab, Electron Microscopy, FACS, and Analytical Chemistry), an Introduction to Power Point Presentations, and an Introduction to poster preparation.
  • Group workshops to discuss each student scholars’ research progress and to assist with poster preparation.
  • Three to five scientific presentations and discussions will be held with notable local scientists on contemporary topics such as Stem Cell Biology, Translational Biology, and Modern Vaccinology.
  • Field trips to regional research centers will be included if COVID regulations allow. Past fieldtrips have included the Tulane National Primate Research Center, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU Center for Emerging Technologies (a biotechnology incubator), and the LSU School of Public Health in New Orleans.
  • Informal evening social activities will be held for mentors and student scholars and their guests.
  • Presentation of research results will occur orally, at the National Symposium, and at the LSU Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day.

Veterinary Medical students in the 1st and 2nd year of their curriculum.

Students not concurrently enrolled in a graduate program such as our DVM/PhD program.

The Boehringer Ingelheim program restricts participation to one year. However, students may receive a second year support through the NIH BREVS program, Morris Animal Foundation, or other extramural support.

Preference will be given to students without prior formal research experience (such as those that have already obtained a MS or PhD).

Students from any College of Veterinary Medicine are encouraged to apply.

Summer Scholar Grants will be awarded to students based off the evaluation of the application and proposal as described below: 

  • Originality and relevance to the future advancement of animal health - 30%
  • Student grade point average, academic background, and interest in research - 20%
  • Feasibility of the research plan, budget, and value as a learning experience - 20%
  • Level of support & guidance expected to be provided by mentor(s) - 20%
  • Potential for publication of findings in a scientific journal - 10%

Funds to support the selected students will be provided by Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, the National Institute of Health, Kenneth Burns Foundation, Arkansas Veterinary Foundation, PetSmart Charities and the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Stipends for students salaries will be determined by NIH funding recommendations (2021 funding was $6,459). It is expected the cost of research will be supported by the mentors. Cost for poster printing will be covered by the program. Intellectual property rights for results of these studies will be assigned following LSU guidelines. As per University guidelines, mileage reimbursement up to $500 will be provided for LSU students electing to work at the Tulane National Primate Research Center for the purposes of travel.

Posters are required to be presented at the Summer Scholars Symposium and at the LSU Vet Med Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day. 

Poster Requirements