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VETERINARY RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation and the EQUUS Foundation joined together to establish the EQUUS Foundation Research Fellows program in 2011 to emphasize the importance of equine research, to reward researchers for their contributions, and to meet the increasing need to train future equine veterinary researchers. The EQUUS Foundation Research Fellows program emphasizes the importance of assisting equine researchers in their exploration of horse health care topics.

The EQUUS Foundation Research Fellow is an AAEP member who has graduated from an AVMA-accredited school/college of veterinary medicine and plans to specialize in equine research. The applicant should be a current doctoral student or resident, or have completed their residency or doctorate within two years. The recipient will receive a $5,000 scholarship for conducting equine research plus a $500 stipend to assist with travel to the AAEP Convention. The grant may be used in collaboration with other funding.

The deadline to apply for an EQUUS Foundation Research Fellow is August 1. For additional information, please visit the AAEP Foundation website here.

RECIPIENTS
2017
Kelly Sears, DVM, MS, DACVIM-LA
Washington State University

2017 Research Fellow
Left to Right: Kelly Sears, DVM, MS, DACVIM-LA, and Richard Mitchell, DVM, EQUUS Foundation Board Member and AAEP Foundation Chairman.

Washington State University doctoral candidate Kelly Sears, DVM, MS, DACVIM-LA, received the 2017 EQUUS Foundation Research Fellow for her research into equine piroplasmosis, which resulted in the discovery of a new Theileria organism along the Texas-Mexico border.

Dr. Sears was recognized Nov. 19 prior to the Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture at the AAEP's 63rd Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

Dr. Sears was initially involved in massive surveillance testing and treatment after the largest equine piroplasmosis outbreak in Texas. As a consequence of screening infected animals, the new Theileria organism was discovered. Her research group was instrumental in evaluating the new organism, Theileria haneyi, to define its pathogenesis in horses.

After five years of investigation into Theilera haneyi, Dr. Sears is developing further research to determine the prevalence of the species, the consequences of long-term infection, and an effective chemotherapeutic capable of eliminating the parasite safely from horses. Theileria infections in horses are a significant barrier to international trade and can cause considerable economic loss to horse producers globally. Her research will have implications for the millions of working equids worldwide.

"Dr. Sears' research focus is extremely important to equine health," said Don Knowles, DVM, Ph.D., DACVP, professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology at Washington State University. "The parasite we are designating as Theileria haneyi is not detectable by current diagnostic methods. This award will allow Dr. Sears to gain more understanding into the prevalence of T. haneyi in horses." Dr. Sears earned her M.S. from Washington State University in 2014 and her DVM from the University of Florida in 2010.

2016
Katarzyna Dembek, DVM, MS, DACVIM
Ohio State University

2016 Research Fellow
Left to Right: Dr. Jeff Berk, AAEP Foundation Chairman, JKatarzyna Dembek, DVM, MS, DACVIM, and Dr. Richard Mitchell, DVM, EQUUS Foundation Board Member and incoming AAEP Foundation Chairman.

Ohio State University doctoral candidate Katarzyna Dembek, DVM, MS, DACVIM, received the 2016 EQUUS Foundation Research Fellow for her research into how the dynamics of hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal hormones relate to severity of disease and mortality in newborn foals.

Dr. Dembek was recognized on December 5th prior to the Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture at the AAEP's 62nd Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla.

Dr. Dembek has made several clinical discoveries, including how an increase in the number of adrenal steroids in septic foals is directly proportional to severity of disease and likelihood of mortality. She also demonstrated foals with adrenal endocrine failure are likely to die within a very short period after admission. In addition, Dr. Dembek helped develop an application called FoalScore, which estimates the probability of sepsis and survival in foals.

Dr. Dembek earned her veterinary degree in 2005 from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland. She completed her master's in veterinary clinical sciences and equine medicine residency in 2012, both at Ohio State University.

2015
Jane Marie Manfredi, DVM, MS, DACVS-LA
Michigan State University

2015 Research Fellow
Left to Right: Dr. G. Kent Carter, AAEP President, Jane Marie Manfredi DVM, MS, DACVS-LA, and Dr. Richard Mitchell, DVM, EQUUS Foundation Board Member.

Michigan State University doctoral candidate Jane Marie Manfredi, DVM, MS, DACVS-LA, received the 2015 EQUUS Foundation Research Fellow for her work to advance equine veterinary knowledge. The award was presented during the American Association of Equine Practitioners' 61st Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dr. Manfredi's research focuses on the identification of risk factors for Equine Metabolic Syndrome, a major health and welfare concern given the established links between EMS, hyperinsulinemia and laminitis.

Dr. Manfredi's research aims to evaluate and optimize field-oriented dynamic tests of insulin and glucose regulation, as well as to explore the muscle and adipose tissue biologic differences (via RNA Seq) between four breeds of horses.

Dr. Manfredi earned her veterinary degree from the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in 2004. She completed her master's in veterinary surgery and her large animal surgery residency in 2012, both at the University of Minnesota.

2014
Two equine researchers were presented with the 2014 EQUUS Foundation Research Fellows for their work to advance veterinary knowledge during the American Association of Equine Practitioners' 60th Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. North Carolina State University doctoral candidate Liara Gonzalez, DVM, DACVS, and University of Minnesota doctoral candidate Elaine Norton, DVM, MS, received the 2014 EQUUS Foundation Research Fellows for their work to advance equine veterinary knowledge.
2014 Research Fellows
Left to Right: Dr. Jeff Berk, AAEP Foundation Chairman, Elaine Norton, DVM, Dr. Richard Mitchell, DVM, EQUUS Foundation Board Member, Liara Gonzales, DVM, and Dr. Jeff Blea, AAEP President.

Liara Gonzalez, DVM, DACVS
North Carolina State University

Dr. Gonzalez's research aims to identify new and effective regenerative medicine therapies for horses diagnosed with intestinal ischemia, a condition that worsens the prognosis for colic cases. With limited available therapeutic options, her study investigates the use of intestinal epithelial stem cells as a possible therapeutic target due to their capacity to regenerate the mucosal epithelial barrier.

Dr. Gonzalez received her DVM from Cornell University in 2006. She completed her large animal surgery residency at North Carolina State in 2010.

Elaine Norton, DVM, MS
University of Minnesota
Dr. Norton's research seeks to identify genetic risk loci and potential candidate genes in horses with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) by phenotyping 100 Welsh Ponies and genotyping them on the new equine 670,000 single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping array. The study has the potential to substantially expand understanding of the genetic and molecular factors that contribute to the pathophysiology of EMS and improve ability to predict disease risk and identify animals that could benefit from management changes or therapeutic intervention.

2013
Two equine researchers were presented with the 2013 EQUUS Foundation Research Fellows for their work to advance veterinary knowledge during the American Association of Equine Practitioners' 59th Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Virginia Tech equine surgery resident Kendra Freeman, DVM, and Texas A&M University post-doctoral research associate Amanda-Jo Joswig, DVM, MPH, each received a $5,000 grant from the EQUUS Foundation to support their endeavors in equine research along with a $500 stipend to support their travel to the AAEP Convention.
2013 Research Fellows
Left to Right: Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, Ph.D., DSc, FRCVS, Diplomate ACVS & ACVSMR, AAEP Foundation Chairman, Dr. Amanda-Jo Joswig, Dr. Ann Dwyer, AAEP President and Dr. Richard Mitchell, EQUUS Foundation Board member. Not pictured: Kendra Freeman, DVM, who was unable to attend because of a recent surgery.

Kendra Freeman, DVM
Virginia Tech
Dr. Freeman's research evaluates the effect of tendon repair techniques on intrinsic tendon vasculature. The study compares the effects of the three-loop pulley pattern and the six-strand Savage suture patterns for tenorrhaphy on the perfusion intrinsic tendon vasculature of the equine superficial digital flexor tendon.

The project will provide valuable information to veterinarians who treat life-threatening tendon lacerations.

Dr. Freeman received her DVM from Colorado State University in 2009 and also is pursuing a Masters in Biomedical Veterinary Sciences.

Amanda-Jo Joswig, DVM, MPH
Texas A&M University
Dr. Joswig's research investigates the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in equine corneal ulcers as well as the safety of allogeneic MSCs used subconjunctivally. The study dually aims to determine whether horses mount an immune reaction to allogeneic MSCs injected subconjunctivally and to characterize corneal epithelial healing times when MSCs are used as a therapeutic.

The project has the potential to change the current paradigm for treatment of equine corneal ulcers and provide a novel use of MSCs and a basis for translational applications in other species, including humans.

Dr. Joswig earned her DVM and Masters in Public Health from the University of Florida in 2011.

2012
Two equine researchers were presented with the 2012 EQUUS Foundation Research Fellows for their work to advance veterinary knowledge during the American Association of Equine Practitioners' 58th Annual Convention. Texas A&M University master of science candidate Michelle C. Coleman, DVM, DACVIM, and University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center doctoral candidate Allen E. Page, DVM, each received a $5,000 fellow to support their endeavors in equine research during the Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture.
2012 Research Fellows
Left to Right: Dr. Richard Mitchell, EQUUS Foundation Board member, Dr. Allen E. Page, Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, AAEP Foundation Chairman, Dr. Michelle C. Coleman, and Dr. John Mitchell, 2012 AAEP President.

Michelle C. Coleman, DVM, DACVIM
Texas A&M University
Dr. Coleman is working toward a graduate degree in biomedical sciences with an emphasis on epidemiology. She is the study coordinator for the AAEP Foundation's Case-Control Study of Pasture- and Endocrinopathy-Associated Laminitis in horses, currently underway at Texas A&M University. The short-term objective of the study is to identify risk factors for the development of incident cases of laminitis among horse that naturally develop pasture-or endocrinopathy-associated laminitis. It is hoped that results of this project will guide the long-term objective of developing strategies for control and prevention of this form of the disease.

Dr. Coleman received a bachelor's of science degree in 2003 from the University of Rochester (NY) and her veterinary degree in 2007 from the University of Georgia

Allen E. Page, DVM
University of Kentucky
Gluck Equine Research Center
Dr. Page's doctoral research is focused on the immunological response of horses to Lawsonia intracellularis; in particular, he is investigating why only a small proportion of L. intracellularis-exposed weanlings develop clinical signs of equine proliferative enteropathy (EPE) while the vast majority fails to show any ill effects of exposure. One of the most pressing issues he is investigating with respects to L. intracellularis and EPE concerns how the bacterium is transmitted and where the reservoir exists on a farm. EPE is a disease of foals caused by the obligate intracellular organism L. intracellularis. This emerging disease causes fever, lethargy, peripheral oedema, diarrhea, colic and weight loss.

Dr. Page received his bachelor's degree in 2004 and his veterinary degree in 2008 from the University of California, Davis. He also is a Morris Animal Foundation/Pfizer Animal Health Fellow.

2011
Two equine researchers were presented with the inaugural 2011 EQUUS Foundation Research Fellows for their work to advance veterinary knowledge during the American Association of Equine Practitioners' 57th Annual Convention. Oklahoma State University doctoral candidate Heidi Banse, DVM, DACVIM, and University of Georgia doctoral candidate Lindsey Helms Boone, DVM, each received a $5,000 fellow to support their endeavors in equine research during the Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture.
2011 Research Fellows
Left to Right: Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, AAEP Foundation Chairman, Dr. Lindsey Boone, Dr. Rick Mitchell, EQUUS Foundation Board member, Dr. Heidi Banse, and Dr. Bill Moyer, 2011 AAEP President.

Heidi Banse, DVM, DACVIM
Oklahoma State University
Dr. Banse's doctoral research focuses on the molecular events underlying the development of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS). EMS is a common endocrine disorder of middle-aged horses characterized by obesity, regional adiposity, insulin resistance and a predisposition to laminitis. Identification of the initiating metabolic events that lead to EMS may allow for earlier diagnosis and treatment. The long-term goal of her research is to identify a preventative intervention for horses with EMS based on improved understanding of the pathophysiology of the condition.

Dr. Banse received a bachelor's of science degree in veterinary science in 2004 and her veterinary degree in 2007, both from Washington State University. She completed a residency in equine internal medicine in July of 2011 at Oklahoma State University.

Lindsey Helms Boone, DVM
University of Georgia
Dr. Boone's doctoral research is centered on the intra-articular use of equine allogeneic bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) for the treatment of acute and chronic degenerative joint disease in the horse. While regenerative therapy is becoming commonplace in the treatment of many equine musculoskeletal diseases, much remains to be elucidated on its precise mechanisms of action, the full potential of its application and the potential for deleterious side effects. Dr. Boone's research aims to answer many of these questions at they pertain to equine joint health.

Dr. Boone received her bachelor's degree in animal and veterinary sciences in 2004 from Clemson University and her veterinary degree in 2008 from the University of Georgia. She completing a residency in equine surgery and working on her doctorate at the University of Georgia.