The following news release was distributed by Morris Animal Foundation.
March 17, 2011
Morris Animal Foundation recently awarded prize money to three aspiring veterinarians in recognition of the animal health projects they completed to improve the health and well-being of wildlife. The prizes were awarded at the Foundation’s wildlife scientific review meeting held in New Orleans from March 10 to13.
Each student was part of Morris Animal Foundation’s Veterinary Student Scholars (VSSs) program, which gives students hands-on research experience early in their medical career with the hope that they will consider advanced research training. Through the program, veterinary students or non-veterinary graduate students receive stipends of up to $4,000 to participate in clinical or basic animal health and/or welfare research. The students then present their projects in a poster competition for cash prizes.
First place was awarded to Crystal Eng of Texas A&M University for her research that examined the prevalence of endotheliotropic elephant herpesvirus in captive Asian elephant herds and investigated the efficacy of the drug famciclovir, which is used to treat oral herpes in humans, as a treatment for elephants. Along with the recognition, Eng received a $2,500 prize.
Second place went to Vanessa Hale of Purdue University. Her research identified a practical and effective technique for preserving and transporting fecal samples from snub-nosed monkeys in the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in China. Hale received a $1,500 prize.
Third place was awarded to Josephine Bryk of the University of California–Davis. Her research evaluated whether feeding captive black rhinos at different times of the day increases their activity levels without affecting their welfare and would be easy for zookeepers to implement. Bryk received $1,000. Bryk performed her study during the summer of 2010 as part of the Students Training in Advanced Research program at the School of Veterinary Medicine.
“Morris Animal Foundation funds more than 70 VSS studies each year, and these three students are excellent examples of the quality of work that is accomplished through the program,” said Wayne Jensen, DVM, PhD, chief scientific officer for Morris Animal Foundation.