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Oklahoma State University

Summer Research Scholars 2018

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Pictured left to right: Lyndsi Vaughan, Layna Tarpalechee, Morgan Johnson, Katherine Schwartz, Shannon Remerowski, Alexa Hunter and William Womble. Also participating but not pictured was Michael Wallis.

For eight veterinary students at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine summertime meant research time. Paired with a mentor, these students spent 12 weeks engulfed in biomedical research to help improve both human and animal wellbeing.

Here is a brief summary of their projects and findings:

  • Alexa Hunter (’20) conducted “A retrospective clinicopathological study of myocarditis in dogs: 70 cases (2007-2017)” to try to determine if there were any common characteristics in the dogs with necropsy-confirmed myocarditis. She found that German shepherd dogs were over-represented in the sample and identifying bacterial etiologies from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues by PCR was unsuccessful.
  • Morgan Johnson (’20) studied the “Effects of short chain fatty acids on murine intestinal epithelial cell cytokine gene expression in vitro” to determine the influence of short-chain fatty acids butyrate and propionate on intestinal epithelial cell cytokine expression. She discovered that significant decreases in cell proliferation were observed with doses higher than 2 mM butyrate alone or in combination.
  • Shannon Remerowski (’20) conducted a study on how “Anti-ELTD1 monoclonal antibody therapy improves survival times and tumor volumes in mice with glioblastoma.” Her results suggest that anti-ELTD1 monoclonal antibody therapy has a significant anti-tumor effect and shows potential as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of glioblastoma for humans and canines.
  • Katherine Schwartz (’20) looked at “Internal parasite loads of wild black bears (Ursus americanus) via fecal testing” to try to establish a baseline infection summary and determine if infection could be high enough to be part of the significant stressors on the bears. Preliminary results identified a capallarid species and strongyle-type species in more than half the bears surveyed with no co-infections. Overall, the infections look to be mild with low numbers of eggs shedding in the feces.
  • Layna Tarpalechee (’20) conducted a “Survey study to estimate Trypanosoma cruzi infection prevalence in domestic dogs and kissing bugs in Oklahoma.” Trypanosoma cruzi is known to cause Chagas disease in canines and humans. Through the data she collected, Tarpalechee concluded that T. cruzi may be an under recognized pathogen cycling in nature in north-central Oklahoma.
  • Lyndsi Vaughan (’20) studied the “Use of an intradermal syringe adapter on bovine skin samples” to investigate and emphasize the importance of accurate intradermal delivery of the test antigen in tuberculosis testing of cattle. She used a model system and employed a novel assistive device in the study. Data analysis revealed a significant improvement with the use of the novel device.
  • Michael Wallis (’20) conducted a “Blood coagulation assessment of captive Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) using viscoelastic point-of-care units: a pilot study” to establish baseline data for clotting times. Studying blood coagulation in these elephants will provide insight into the detection of bleeding disorders, which may help guide treatment of EEHV and other serious diseases.
  • William Womble (’21) studied “Blood parameters and oxidative damage in the aging zebra finch” to investigate age-related differences in oxidative damage as well as other blood parameters in the birds. His study provided insights into several hematological parameters for a common veterinary species as well as a potentially novel method to be used in future research on the relationship of aging and oxidative damage in wild and captive birds.

The Summer Research Scholars Program is designed to identify talented and highly motivated veterinary students interested in exploring a career in veterinary biomedical research. Participants have either completed the first or second year of the DVM program. All research and related program activities are made possible with funding from Morris Animal Foundation, PetSmart Charities, and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine including the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology and the office of Research and Graduate Education.

This year all eight students traveled with program coordinator, Dr. Laura Nafe, to present their research at the 2018 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium in College Station, Texas, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim. The Symposium highlights the ways veterinary scientists advance basic and applied research to support global health and enables participants to gain insights into careers in biomedical research.

If you would like to support biomedical research to benefit humans, animals, and the environment, please contact Ms. Chris Sitz, senior director of development and team lead, at the OSU Foundation at or 405-385-5170.