Veterinary Pathology Club

Summer Experiences

What are your plans for the summer? Interested in getting some experiences related to Pathology? Perhaps we can give you some ideas.

Here are the summer experiences of past Path Club members. More experiences coming soon!

Hannah Laurence, Class of 2017

I spent 8 weeks doing a paid summer externship in the pathology department at the Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.  I worked alongside two board-certified pathologists and under their supervision was able to perform numerous necropsies of non-human primates that died naturally or were humanely euthanized.  The pathologists spent time reviewing slides from interesting cases with me.  Over the course of the summer I collected and organized data from their records database and began writing a manuscript on natural causes of mortality to hopefully submit for publication later this year.  I was also given the opportunity to give case presentations at rounds in front of a group of pathologists.  I would highly recommend this externship to other students, it was a wonderful learning experience and a lot of fun!

Sarai Milliron, Class of 2018

This summer I did a two-week summer rotation in anatomic pathology. While on the rotation I got to improve my necropsy technique by participating in numerous necropsies of various species including canine, feline, avian, equine, bovine, caprine, and even an elephant! I learned how to acquire appropriate tissue samples, how to perform an impression smear, and I practiced interpreting cytology. Each of the necropsies I performed or participated in also provided me with the opportunity to study anatomy and develop an understanding of the variations of normal and abnormal. I also practiced writing gross pathology reports as well as describing and interpreting gross lesions. In addition, during rounds each morning we discussed the pathogenesis of diseases pertinent to the cases we received that day or regarding the cases we worked on the previous day, which were excellent opportunities to review material I learned during my first year and prepare me for information I would be learning during my second year! The faculty and residents were incredibly helpful, supportive, and a ton of fun to work with. Overall, it was an amazing experience; so much so that I was sad to see the two weeks come to an end.

Andy Aghaian, Class of 2018

For 9 weeks over the summer, I was a T35 NIH fellow at Wake Forest School of Medicine in the Comparative Medicine/Pathology department. I worked at the primate center and did a retrospective study looking into whether or not an Epstein-Barr-like virus was a copathogen in radiation-induced lung injury in rhesus macaques. In addition to presenting my project to the department at the end of the summer, I also presented my research at this year’s Merial-NIH Symposium and plan to present at ACVP in the fall.

I participated in several primate necropsies and learned proper tissue collection procedures, as well as basic laboratory skills. In addition to a delving into pathology, I was given an opportunity to work with the clinical staff and assisted with ultrasounds and endoscopies on the rhesus macaques. Each Friday, the other fellows and myself would attend grand rounds, where both clinical and pathologic cases were presented, clinical pathology rounds, where we were given cases to evaluate and discuss, and pathology conference, where the pathology residents and post-doctoral fellows would review histology slides. We also attended journal club weekly and each of us presented an article once during the summer.  Overall, it was a fantastic experience because it not only allowed me to explore the possibility of pursuing research/academia as a career, but I also met and learned from a lot of great people with a diverse interests and backgrounds. I highly recommend this program for anyone interested in comparative medicine, pathology, research, primate medicine, and/or lab animal medicine.


Katie Barnes, Class of 2013

This summer I did a 10-week paid internship in Comparative Pathology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.
While I was there I performed necropsies, examined tissue sections and worked with faculty one-on-one reviewing cases under the microscope. Hopkins collaborates with local small animal clinics, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, the National Aquarium, Frederick Animal Health Lab, as well as on-site and off-site lab animal research labs which made my case load truly diverse.
The internship also includes a small required research project. My project was a retrospective study on pulmonary silicosis in giraffes that I will be presenting at this year's AAZV and ACVP. The internship is heavy in pathology, but arrangements were made to join in on rounds at both the zoo and aquarium. We also worked very closely with the lab animal residents joining them on rounds.
This was an amazing experience that is one of a kind, and it allowed me to gain a better understanding of what a pathology residency is really like. 

Amy Grimm, Class of 2014

This summer I participated in the UC Davis SVM STAR program. I worked at the Center for Health and the Environment in the Toxic Pollutant and Health Research Laboratory.
For my project I studied the effects of environmental tobacco smoke on the immune response and subsequent susceptibility to bacterial and viral infection in neonatal mice. I learned a lot about laboratory animal pathology and spent the entire summer performing necropsies on mice (and some rats too!). I learned some neat ways to collect tissue from these animals and was able to practice split-lung lavage as well as cardiac punctures. We removed the lungs and I learned how to process and embed the tissues in order to evaluate lung histopathology. I also learned how to perform cytospins for cell differentials, and I enjoyed observing the differences between healthy cells of laboratory mice and those infected with murine-adapted Influenza A virus and/or Staphyloccocus aureus
Since my STAR funding came through NIH I was able to attend the Merial-NIH Research Symposium at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Not only did I meet awesome students and professors, but I also got to tour behind the scenes at the Animal Kingdom as well as visit Universal Studios for the day. learned a lot this summer and would recommend the STAR program to anyone interested in research and pathology.

Jessica Johnston, Class of 2013

This summer I did an internship at UCLA in the Department of Comparative Medicine. 
While my focus is laboratory animal medicine, the two fields are so closely tied that I had the opportunity to participate in some amazing pathology experiences. The director of the department is double boarded with ACLAM and ACVP, and is the head pathologist. I was able to go with him when he did slide reviews with investigators. It was a great review of normal histology and I learned a lot about the histopathologic appearance of many diseases and processes. I was also able to participate in gross pathology by attending and doing lab animal necropsies, including mice, rats, and rabbits. 
Overall the internship was a great experience in improving my skills and knowledge in both lab animal medicine and pathology, and I look forward to combining the two fields in my career. 

Wilson Yau, Class of 2013

I was at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland for a 10-week biomedical research internship. The two veterinary pathologists in charge of this program paired me up with a laboratory at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Though I had little prior research experience, my mentor was very helpful and thorough, such that I could jump in and start contributing to a project quickly. I quantified the injury response of microglial cells in the mouse brain as a result of acute brain slicing, and I experimented with various purinergic receptor antagonists to observe their effects on this injury response. I presented a poster of my research findings at the Merial-NIH Symposium at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
My favorite parts of this internship were the weekly afternoons that I spent with the veterinary pathologists and residents, who were just a few buildings away from my lab. I participated in biopsy conferences, slide readings, and visited veterinarians at a variety of facilities, such as primate centers, mouse colonies, a vaccine research center, a mouse imaging facility, and the FDA.
I recommend this internship to anyone who is willing to give research a try but prefers not to stay in Davis for the summer. The stipend is very attractive as well.