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NIH/Boehringer Ingelheim Summer Research Program

The NIH/Boehringer Ingelheim Summer Research Program is designed to expose students in their first or second year of veterinary school to all phases of biomedical research. This includes the development of research ideas, the preparation of research proposals, the performance of biomedical research, and the presentation of research results in written, poster, and oral formats. Here's what you'll discover in these pages:

The NIH/Boehringer Ingelheim Summer Research Program

  • Below you can learn about the NIH/Boehringer Ingelheim Summer Research Program, its history, and how it works. Then visit the other pages in this section to learn the details.

NIH/BI Research Contacts

Michael Atchison, PhD, Program Co-Director
Phone: 215-898-6428

Michael May, PhD, Program Co-Director
Phone: 215-898-8866

Jenni Punt, VMD, PhD, Program Co-Director
Phone: 610-389-1782

Anastasia Brown, Coordinator
Phone: 215-898-3800

University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine
NIH/BI Summer Research Program
3800 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6046

Finding a Research Mentor

Faculty and Projects

Departments & Graduate Groups

Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars and Other Research Programs for Veterinary Students

What the Program is About

The NIH/Boehringer Ingelheim Summer Research Program is designed to expose students in their first or second year of veterinary school to all phases of biomedical research. This includes the development of research ideas, the preparation of research proposals, the performance of biomedical research, and the presentation of research results in written, poster, and oral formats. Students in the program perform full time biomedical research during the months of June, July, and August, participate in weekly seminars, and present their work in oral, poster, and written presentations. Students also attend the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium (NVSS). The program provides a rich experience in biomedical research for students and simultaneously exposes them to a wide variety of research topics through seminars. Students also benefit from close association with University faculty, and the colleagueship of over 500 veterinary students in similar programs throughout the nation.

Who is Eligible?

Any veterinary student who has completed one semester of veterinary school is eligible to apply. Students can be from the University of Pennsylvania, or any other veterinary school.

History of the Program

The Summer Research Program has existed at Penn Vet since 1990. The program is currently funded by Boehringer Ingelheim and by an NIH training grant. Other sources of support include funds from the office of the Dean, the four departmental chairs, the Institute for Immunology, and the Marie Lowe Cancer Center. Since its inception, the program has funded 528 awards to 477 different students to perform biomedical research in the laboratories of 181 different faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania. The historical success rate of gaining acceptance into the program is about 80%.

How Does the Program Work?

Students perform full time research during the months of June, July, and August under the supervision of their faculty mentor. Throughout the summer, students participate in weekly seminars given by faculty and guest speakers (see schedule, below). Students also orally present their own work to other students in the program at the end of the summer. Students attend the annual National Veterinary Scholars Symposium and present a poster of their work at the conference. In September, students prepare a written manuscript of their work in the form of a research paper. The following March, all participating students submit their work to the Penn Veterinary Student Research Day. In prior years, the vast majority of the Penn Vet Student Research Day winners have been participants in the Summer Research Program.

In addition to a stipend (currently $6,459 for the summer) students receive course credit for independent study (8 credits for Penn students). Non-Penn Vet students can receive up to an additional $500 for relocation costs. It is anticipated that 20 students will be funded each year.

NIH/BI Summer Research Scholars Tentative Schedule 2021
Unless otherwise noted, meetings are Mondays at 9am and
most Wednesdays at 4pm.
All meetings will be via zoom. A link will be sent before each meeting.
 4/27Introductory Meeting (Note: 5:30pm)
 6/1Responsible Conduct in ResearchJenni Punt, VMD, PhD, Associate Dean of One Heath, Penn Vet (Note: Tuesday 9am)
 6/2Careers in Pharmaceutical Industry
Jessica Stehr, VMD, MS, MBA, Executive Director, Cardiometabolic New Products, Merck
Chris DeMaula, DVM, PhD, Senior Principle Scientist, Pathology, Merck
Colena Johnson, DVM, MS, DACLAM, Director, Laboratory Animal Resources, Merck
6/7Careers in Academia - Michael May, PhD, Associate Professor, Penn Vet
6/9 Tenure Track Veterinarian-Scientists 
Susan Volk, VMD, PhD, DACVS, Associate Professor, Penn Vet
Nicola Mason, BVetMed, PhD, DACVIM, Gilmore Endowed Chair, Associate Professor, Penn Vet
Elizabeth Lennon, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, Cole Assistant Professor, Penn Vet
6/14 Grants and Grant Writing
Bruce Freedman, VMD, PhD, Associate Professor, Director, Imaging Core, Penn Vet
Leslie King, PhD, Scientific Director of Grant Development 
6/16 Veterinarians in Careers Involving Public Health
Dan Morris, DVM, MPH, Professor of Dermatology, Penn Vet
Heather Fowler, VMD, PhD, MPH, DACVPM, Director of Producer and Public Health, National Pork Board
Laurel Redding, VMD, PhD, DACVPM, Assistant Professor, New Bolton Center, Penn Vet
Careers in Lab Animal Medicine - F. Claire Hankenson, DVM, DACLAM, Professor of Pathobiology, Penn Vet; Associate Vice Provost for Research and Executive Director of University Laboratory Animal Resources, University of Pennsylvania
A Vision for Penn Vet - Dean Andrew Hoffman, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM, Professor of Large Animal Medicine, Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine, Penn Vet
Careers in Government
Natalie Miller, VMD, PhD, Veterinary Medical Officer, Food and Drug Administration
Stephanie Murphy, VMD, PhD, Director, Division of Comparative Medicine, National Institutes of Health
Program Alumni Panel
Eva Furrow, VMD, PhD, DACVM, Associate Professor Small Animal Medicine, University of Minnesota
Colleen Kane, Compound Development Team Leader, Hematologic Malignancies, Senior Director, Janssen R&D
Heidi Reesink, VMD, PhD, DACVS-LA, Harry M. Zweig Assistant Professor in Equine Health, Cornell University
Poster, Oral, and Written Presentations
Frank Luca, PhD, Associate Professor, Penn Vet
Michael Atchison, PhD, Professor, Director, VMD-PhD Program, Penn Vet
7/21Clinical Educator Veterinarian-Scientists
Stephen Cole, VMD, MS, DACVM, Assistant  Professor of Clinical Microbiology, Penn Vet
Anna Gelzer,, PhD, DACVM, Professor of Cardiology, Penn Vet
7/26Career Paths and Research Mission Visions of NBC and CSAM Chairs
Katrin Hinrichs, DVM, PhD, ACT, Professor of Reproduction, Harry Werner Endowed Professor of Equine Medicine Chair, Clinical Studies-New Bolton Center, Penn Vet
Oliver O. Garden, BS, BVetMed, PhD, ACVIM, ECVIM, Henry and Corinne R. Bower Professor of Medicine, Chair, Clinical Sciences & Advanced Medicine, Penn Vet
7/28Student Presentations
7/29Student Presentations (Note: Thursday 9am)
NVSS Virtual Meeting
8/9 Program wrap-up session

National Veterinary Scholars Symposium

Each year, veterinary students in formal research programs in the US, Canada, and Europe meet for a National Symposium. These meetings enable students to present their work to others, learn about careers for veterinarian-scientists, and network with their peers and scientists from academia, industry, and government. Past conferences are listed below. The 2022 conference is expected to be hosted by the University of Minnesota.

Past National Conferences
Year Location YearLocation
2000 University of Georgia 2012Colorado State University
2001 University of Georgia 2013Michigan State University
2002 Purdue University 2014 Cornell University
2003 Kansas State University 2015UC Davis
2004 Auburn University 2016Ohio State University
2005 University of Georgia 2017Michigan State University at NIH
2006 Louisiana State University 2018Texas A&M
2007 University of Pennsylvania and AAVMC at NIH 2019Tufts University
2008 Michigan State University 2020University of California, San Diego
2009 North Carolina State University 2021 Iowa State University 
2010 University of Georgia 2022 University of Minnesota 
2011 University of Florida   

Application to the Program

To apply to the program, students interested in performing biomedical research discuss research ideas with faculty. All faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania are eligible to accept a student in the program, thus students are not restricted to those within the School of Veterinary Medicine. The Program Directors, Dr. Michael AtchisonDr. Michael May, and Dr. Jenni Punt, can assist students in identifying faculty with interests compatible with theirs, or students can identify a faculty mentor through information available at the various Penn graduate group web pages, and departmental web pages. The student and faculty mentor fill out an application package and write a short research proposal (approximately 3 pages) which is due February 1 each year. Please make sure to contact possible faculty mentors at least two months prior to the deadline. The research proposal should define the questions being pursued and should explain the experimental approaches to be taken to answer those questions. The advisory committee reviews the applications with respect to academic standing of the student, quality of the research proposal, and training potential of the mentor's laboratory. Students whose applications are funded are notified by late February of their award.