Research Project Information

Photo: MPVM

Student uses a microscope to look for blood markers to study bone fragility syndrome at the J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory.

I. General Information:

One of the requirements of the MPVM Program is the completion of an applied epidemiologic study which culminates in a written and oral report that is presented to MPVM students and faculty, usually in August of the summer following admission to the program.

The intent of the project is to develop skills in the design and conduct of field research and data analysis, and possibly to explore a new subject area.  The study can be designed to uncover facts, or it can involve the development of an educational or disease control program.  The research report must represent a careful and systematic study involving an epidemiologic topic.  Over the years, research projects have focused on a variety of topics including: diseases of livestock, poultry, wildlife, companion animals, zoonoses and food safety.  Data previously obtained may be used in the formulation of this study; however, a data set that has been previously analyzed is not acceptable.  If you plan to use a data set from a study that you have previously done, it must be reviewed and approved beforehand by your faculty advisor.

II. Finding a Project:

You are encouraged to bring with you data gathered during previous employment. Or, you may choose to work on a project that is provided by a faculty member at UC Davis.  Profiles of veterinary school faculty are available on the web at - you can search faculty lists by name, department or academic focus. These faculty profiles will help identify faculty members who might have research programs in areas of interest to you. Specific projects that they are working on will not necessarily be listed, however.

A major source of help will be your MPVM Academic Advisor.  For 2017-2018, the program Academic Advisers are Ashley Hill and Janet Foley

A required project orientation and advising session with your assigned Academic Advisor will be scheduled during the summer session.

III.  MPVM Project Advisors:

You must have 2 MPVM project advisors, a Subject-matter advisor, and a Quantitative advisor. It is possible that your MPVM Academic Advisor can also serve as one of your project advisors.

The Subject-matter advisor should be an expert in the topic of your project.  For example, a project ”Risk factors for Campyobacter infection in slaughtered hens in Chechnia” could be either an expert inCampylobacter, or poultry slaughter.  He/she does not necessarily need to be an MPVM faculty member, or, at times not even a UC-Davis faculty member. 

The quantitative advisor is a core MVPM faculty member with much experience in design and analysis of MPVM projects.  It is especially important to involve your quantitative advisor at the start of planning for your MPVM project.

Typically, you will sign up for a total of 8 units (credits) for your project – 4 units for each project advisor, divided among quarters.  The CRN number for each faculty member’s 299 course is different from all other faculty members’ and changes every quarter.  Obtain the CRN number from the faculty member’s departmental office.

IV. Timeline for MPVM Projects:

Summer session I: Consult Academic Advisor.  Begin to find suitable project and subject-matter and quantitative advisors.

Fall quarter: Complete plans for project and possibly begin work on project.  Take advantage of courses MPM 208 and MPM 209 (offered fall and winter quarters, respectively) to do literature review and begin writing up project. Collect data and/or collate and clean up data set in preparation for analysis.

Winter and spring quarters: Do data analysis and complete “Results” section

May-June: Complete first draft of project

July 1: Submit first draft of project to project advisors.  Find out in advance when they will be available to review your drafts, and plan accordingly.  Remember that 3 or more drafts are often necessary before your advisors are ready to sign off on (approve) your project, and you must allow  at least 2 weeks for each reading.

August 7 (approximately): submit approved MPVM project to Tami Ali electronically at

V. Guidelines for typing and submitting MPVM projects:
  1. A typed double-spaced complete draft of your paper should be submitted to your advisers approximately 2 months before your presentation is scheduled.  The corrected text including tables and figures should be submitted to your advisors for final corrections at least one month prior to your presentation.  Your paper must be grammatically acceptable before your advisors approve it.  In preparing the paper, follow precisely the style and guidelines of a journal of your choice which accepts papers similar to yours.  Remember this paper should be of publishable quality.

  2. At least 1 month prior to the presentation, submit your project title and the names of your advisers to Tami Ali ( and the Program Chair.

  3. Your paper should be typed, double-spaced with a 1-inch margin on the left and a 1-inch margin on the top, right and bottom of the page (the 1-inch left margin is necessary in order to bind the project).  The version that you submit for outside review should have line numbers and page numbers.  Papers usually should be no more than 25-30 typed pages.

  4. Please submit a hard copy of your title page signed by your two advisers, AND an electronic copy (in Word) of your research report, abstract and title page (sample of abstract and title page form attached) to Tami Ali, Graduate Group in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine Dean, 944 Garrod, room 1022, at least 14 days prior to the presentation.  A copy of all abstracts will be provided to everyone at the presentation.  We MUST have your paper in by the deadline in order to allow time for your it to be read by a third reviewer (assigned by the Chair of the MPVM Program), prior to your oral presentation.  We suggest that you also provide your two advisers with a copy of your paper.

  5. The third reader will review the MPVM project as any reviewer would review a manuscript submitted for publication in a scientific journal.  He/she will share his/her comments with you before the MPVM project presentation date, and you should revise your MPVM project accordingly, in consultation with your two project advisers. Ideally, the third reader will also be present at the oral presentations to ask questions during the discussion session for your paper.

  6. When your paper is completely finalized (i.e., after you have made all corrections and changes requested by the third reviewer) and ready for binding, provide an electronic version without line and page numbers to Tami Ali.  This must be done by the last day of the quarter in order to graduate.

  7. Examples of a Title Page and Abstract are provided below:

Comparison of histologic reproductive lesions and serologic responses in virgin heifers experimentally inoculated with Tritrichomonas foetus, Pentatrichomonas hominis or Tetratrichomonas sp.: Are Non-T. foetus trichomonads pathogenic for cattle?


Alana C. McQuarry, D.V.M.

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree
Office of Graduate Studies
University of California, Davis
Davis, California

December 2005

Reviewed and Approved by

Robert H. BonDurant, D.V.M.
Professor and Department Chair; Veterinary Medicine: Population Health and Reproduction

Philip H. Kass, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Professor; Veterinary Medicine: Population Health and Reproduction

Example Abstract (this example is formatted as specified for Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association)

Objective – To evaluate whether non – T. foetus trichomonads are pathogenic to cattle.

Design – Randomized experimental trial.

Animals – 44 virgin beef heifers.

Procedure – Heifers were placed into one of four groups and intravaginally inoculated with either T. foetus (n=8), Pentatrichomonas hominis (n=14), Tetratrichomonas sp. (n=14), or media control (n=8).  Cervical vaginal mucus (CVM) was cultured weekly in a commercially prepared media and assayed with an ELISA for anti-trichomonad IgA antibodies.  Blood samples were taken from each heifer, and a hemolytic assay (HA) for antibodies to T. foetus was performed on these samples from weeks 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8.  Histopathology was performed on all layers of vaginal and uterine tissue to evaluate overall inflammation and cell types involved.

Results – Of the four groups, only T. foetus-inoculated heifers had persistently positive culture results.  Additionally, vaginal and uterine mucosal inflammation scores were worse for T. foetus infected heifers than controls.  All trichomonads were found to incite a serosal eosinophilic response. Tissues from heifers inoculated with Pentatrichomonas and Tetratrichomonas were not significantly different (p > 0.20) from media control heifers.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance – Given that trichomonosis is a disease wherein long term presence of the etiologic agent is associated with tissue-damaging host responses, the failure of non-T. foetustrichomonads to colonize and persist in the female genital tract strongly suggests that they do not contribute to a trichomonosis-like disease syndrome.

VI.  Oral Presentation of MPVM Projects

  1. Four oral presentation dates are scheduled each year:
    a. The last Friday in August (main (preferred) presentation date).
    b. The last Friday of instruction for Fall Quarter.
    c. The last Friday of instruction for Winter Quarter.
    c. The last Friday of instruction for Spring Quarter.

  2. Format for presentations is similar to that of international scientific meegins. Each presentation is allocated a total of 15 minutes:  10-12 minutes for presentation of the project and 3-5 minutes for discussion.

  3. Most presentations are in Powerpoint. Be sure to review with your advisors the tables, graphs, etc. that you select, and include only those necessary to effectively communicate your message. Be especially careful that tables and figures do not include too much information and that they can be read in the back of the room.

  4. As presentations last no longer than ten minutes, it would be helpful to have a mock presentation with both advisors well in advance of the presentation date,  allowing sufficient time to make any suggested changes in your presentation.