A record 68 graduate students participated in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s 26th annual Research Symposium last month.

Presentations on both clinical and basic science research were provided by eight master’s students and 11 Ph.D. students from the college’s Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences graduate program.

Research posters were presented by five Virginia Tech master’s students and 41 Ph.D. students. Three Ph.D. students from the University of Maryland’s Department of Veterinary Sciences also presented posters.

Dr. Larry Madoff, professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, presented the symposium keynote on “One Health and the Detection of Emerging Infectious Diseases.” An academic infectious disease physician, he specializes in the epidemiology of emerging pathogens, bacterial pathogenesis, and international health. He is also director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Division of Epidemiology and Immunizations.

Madoff has been the editor of ProMED, the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases, since 2002. A graduate of Yale College and Tufts Medical School, he completed his internal medicine residency at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and his infectious disease fellowship at the Harvard Medical School-Longwood program. He is the author of over 100 scientific and medical publications including original research papers, reviews, editorials, and book chapters on topics involving infectious diseases and microbiology.

A panel of faculty judges selected the top symposium posters and presentations. At an evening awards banquet held at the Inn at Virginia Tech, eight graduate students, two professors, and two staff members were recognized. Prizes were awarded for the best oral presentations and posters in both masters and Ph.D. student categories. Awards went to:

  • Outstanding Master’s Student Posters: Dr. Dominique Sawyere, a surgery resident from Sydney, Australia, and Dr. Jessica Stahle, a radiology resident from Wellsville, Pennsylvania.
  • Outstanding Master’s Student Presentations: Dr. Samantha Emch, a neurology resident from Kent, Ohio, and Dr. Rachel Matusow, an opthamology resident from South Nyack, New York.
  • Outstanding Ph.D. Student Posters: Thomas Brickler of Boston, Massachusetts, and Dr. Megan Lighty (DVM ’13) of West Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • Outstanding Ph.D. Student Presentations: Dr. Thomas Cotrone (DVM ’14) of Drakes Branch, Virginia, and Dan Youngstrom of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Nammalwar Sriranganathan, professor of bacteriology, was recognized with an award marking his 20 years of service as director of the Infectious Disease Unit at the college’s Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease.

Two veterinary college staff members, Karen Hall and Tracie Smith, also received awards at the banquet.

Hall, animal resource manager for the Teaching and Animal Care Support Service (TRACCS), was honored with the Research & Graduate Studies Outstanding Co-Worker Recognition Award. “A most impressive trait of Karen's is her sincere concern and total dedication to each research project,” her nominator noted. “She also follows through to make sure that the service center recoups as much time and money as possible, ensuring that researchers avoid unnecessary financial expense.”

Tracie Smith, post award grants specialist, received the Research & Graduate Studies Outstanding Contribution Award. She manages the financial needs for the Research & Graduate Studies Business Office. Her nominator noted, “With several hundred accounts to manage, this is a very fast-paced office handling purchases of all college research needs within the specifications/criteria of each grant. With 30 years at Virginia Tech, Tracie has become invaluable with institutional knowledge and fiscal expertise.”

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