Dear all,

The Third Annual College of Veterinary Medicine Student Research Day was a resounding success! The evening brought together more than 70 of the best research minds in the College, both student and faculty, to present their results, discuss conclusions, and promote research here at CVM.

I was very impressed with not only the presenters and mentors, but the faculty and students who attended. While experiments are often a solitary or small group venture, it is only through collaboration and involvement in the community that these undertakings become progressive research. Dissemination of intellectual results is the capstone of every successful discovery. While a single data-point may be important, it is only in the expanding graph that we see trends and build conclusions – so too must research be shared by a community to be of true benefit to society.

I would like to thank several people who made this event possible. To our esteemed judges, Drs. Yiling Hong, Gagandeep Kaur, and James Reynolds, thank you for taking the time to evaluate, deliberate, and, above all, make the difficult decisions between these excellent scientists. To Dr. David Haworth, keynote speaker and President of the Morris Animal Foundation, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to discuss the state of research in Veterinary Medicine and show our College future possibilities. Thank you to Dean Phillip Nelson and Dr. Steven Henriksen who strive each day to embolden and expand the research enterprise here at WesternU.

And, of course, thank you to all the students and mentors who worked around schedules, conflicts, and against the odds to devote your time to advancing the discipline.

A special note – participation and competition this year was so fierce, the judges recommended three awards to express our admiration with the level of scholarship and dedication. So, without further ado, it is with pride and respect that I announce the winners of the 2014 College of Veterinary Medicine Student Research Day:

For Outstanding Research and Presentation of A Clinical Project

1. Ainjil Bills (DVM ’15) "Establishing Normal Thyroid Hormone Values For The Male Giant Panda.” Mentor: Dr. David Kersey

2. Lindsey Jett (DVM ’16) “Molecular Prevalence Of Vector Borne Disease In Free Roaming Cats From Louisiana.” Mentor: Dr. Pedro Diniz

3. Audrey Keebaugh (DVM ’15) “Factors Influencing Pressure Mat Analysis Of The Canine Gait." Mentor: Dr. Dominique Griffon

For Outstanding Research and Presentation of A Basic Science Project

1. Natalie Punt (DVM ’15) “Regulation Of Pathogenic Antiviral Immunity By Peripheral and Meningeal Stromal Cells During Viral Meningitis." Mentors: Drs. Phillip Swanson and Dorian B. McGavern

2. Andreana Lim (DVM ’16) “Inhibition of Pericyte Migration in Spinal Cord Injury Creates a Window for Cervical Contusion Treatment: A Pilot Study.” Mentors: Drs. Chris Czisch, Seok Voon-Lee, Suzana Tkalcic, and Giles W Plant

3. Kurt Michelotti (DVM ’15) “Comparison between Training Models to Teach Veterinary Medicine Students Basic Laparoscopy Surgery Skills.” Mentor: Dr. Ohad Levi

Certificates of Award and cash prizes will be officially presented at during the CVM Honour’s Day in April.

Thank you all for your work and commitment to research at WesternU, College of Veterinary Medicine. I look forward to our continued success and exploration in both the coming year and years to come!


Dominique Griffon


Associate Dean for Research

College of Veterinary Medicine

Western University of Health Sciences