Research Opportunities for DVM Students

Summer Research Training Program

The Summer Research Training Program helps veterinary students explore research-focused career paths.

…the work I contributed to a project even landed my name as a co-author on a paper that will soon be published… Research is definitely something I want to keep in mind as I pursue a residency and a future in academia.

Teddy Hristova, Class of 2018

The Summer Research Training Program at Illinois is one of many similar programs nationally and internationally and is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program. Students receive a stipend for participation in the program.

During the 10-week program, students are expected to:

  • Work on a research project in the mentor’s laboratory for 40 hours per week
  • Complete training modules to learn about laboratory safety and the use of animals and human subjects in research
  • Complete training in the ethical conduct of scientific research
  • Attend a seminar series covering topics from research compliance to career opportunities and career planning. Careers in academia, industry, and government are discussed
  • Participate in a scientific writing series;  prepare an abstract, a poster presentation and a short manuscript
  • Participate in a field trip to pharmaceutical companies;  visit veterinary students in the summer research program at Purdue University
  • Write a research abstract and submit it to the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium
  • Present a research poster at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium
    If you have questions regarding the application process, please send an email to the Program Director ( prior to submitting an application.

2019 Summer Research Training Program Information

  • The program will begin on Monday, May 13, and end on Friday, July 19, 2019.
  • The National Veterinary Scholars Symposium will be held in Boston from July 25 to 28, 2019.
  • Students will receive a stipend of $5067.50 for participation in the program.
  • Complete the online application form by January 14, 2019.


    Application Process

    Eligibility Requirements

    • Enrollment in the first or second year of veterinary school at the time of application.
    • Career interests that would benefit from research training. (Veterinary students from other universities are encouraged to apply).

    Submitting Your Application

    • Complete the online application form.
    • The application deadline for the program is January 14, 2019.

    Selection Process

    • All applications will be reviewed by the program’s Scientific Steering Committee.
    • The student-mentor matching process will begin immediately after the application deadline and continue until all places in the program are filled.

    Student-Mentor Matching

    • Students will be matched with mentors based on the student’s statement of interests and availability of research projects. Applicants may learn about potential mentors under “Meet our Mentors” (below).
    • Students will be notified of a potential match in the program and will meet with the mentor to discuss possible research projects. Following that meeting, the student and mentor will provide feedback to the program’s committee to indicate whether they have agreed to work together.
  • View the list of institutions participating in the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program.

    See the summer opportunities available through Morris Animal Foundation.

  • Orientation Schedule

    May 21
    9 am
     Program Overview (Dr. Lois Hoyer, Nikki Clarkson, Emily Loveland)
    10 amMentor/Trainee Responsibilities and Relationships (Dr. Jodi Flaws, SURETox Program Co-Director, Professor of Comparative Biosciences)
    11 amPubMed for Researchers (Peg Burnette, Assistant Professor, Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center)
    May 22
    9 am
    Human Subjects in Research (Jennifer Ford, IRB Specialist, Office for the Protection of Research Subjects)
    10 amAnimal Use in Research (Dr. Rebecca Chafel, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee)
    11 amResponsible Authorship and Publication/Peer Review (Dr. Romana Nowak, SURETox Program Co-Director, Professor of Animal Sciences)
    May 23
    9 am
    Conflict of Interest – Personal, Professional, and Financial (Dr. Lois Hoyer)
    10 amResearch Misconduct and Policies for Handling Misconduct (Dr. Christopher Lehmann, Research Integrity Officer, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research)
    May 24
    Field Trip to Pharmaceutical Companies (Indianapolis area)

    Seminar Series

    May 294 PM: How to Prepare for a Poster Session (Billy Tringali, University Library)
    5 PM: What is Your Hypothesis?/Writing a Methods Section (Dr. Lois Hoyer)
    June 54 PM: Collaborative Research Roundtable Discussion (Dr. Tim Fan, Professor of Veterinary Clinical Medicine; Dr. Justin Rhodes, Associate Professor of Psychology)
    5 PM: Data Acquisition and Laboratory Tools/Data Management, Sharing, and Ownership (Erin Kerby, Veterinary Medicine Librarian)
    June 124 PM: Careers in Laboratory Animal Medicine (Dr. Sarah Allison, Associate Director, Division of Animal Resources)
    5 PM: Writing a Scientific Abstract (Dr. Lois Hoyer)
    June 26All-day visit from Purdue’s Veterinary Summer Research Program participants
    Note: We are the hosts for this visit. Each trainee will play a role in the visit, either as a tour guide, hosting a station in the Clinical Skills Learning Center, or helping to lead the scientific writing exercise session.
    July 34 – 6 PM: Scientific Writing (focused on your poster and short manuscript)
    July 104 – 6 PM: Mentor-Student Meal
    Discussion of Contemporary Issues in Biomedical Research focused on the book Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions by Richard Harris (ISBN-13: 978-0465097906)
    Discussion led by program mentors
    July 174 – 6 PM: Careers Discussion with Program Alumni
  • A listing of program mentors is provided below. Additional mentors may be added to this list to accommodate student research interests.

    Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

    Department of Animal Biology

    Department of Animal Sciences

    Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

    Department of Comparative Biosciences

    Department of Chemistry

    Department of Entomology

    Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

    Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

    Department of Microbiology

    Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology

    Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

    Department of Pathobiology

    Department of Psychology

    Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine


  • Yes, the program is a full-time commitment. You are expected to work 40 hours per week during the program. By accepting a traineeship in the Summer Research Training Program, it is expected that you will not participate in other programs or expect vacation time during the 10-week program.

  • Hours and scheduling will vary depending on your project (for example, lab work vs. field work) and are determined by your mentor.  By accepting a traineeship in the Summer Research Training Program, it is expected that you will not participate in other programs or expect vacation time during the 10-week program.

  • Many students use the summer to earn as much money as they can to finance their education and living expenses. It is common for students who are participating in the Summer Research Training Program to hold a part-time job, either on or off campus. These students work in the evenings or on weekends, when they are not committed to their research project. Because of the way that the Summer Research Training Program pays its stipends, students who hold an hourly job on the university campus cannot work more than 6 hours per week at the other campus job. Failure to disclose the second job will delay processing of paychecks.

  • Funds may be considered taxable income to the recipient, but are not reported as taxable income by the University on Forms W-2 or 1099-MISC. Taxability of the stipend depends on personal circumstances, so it is advisable to consult with a tax professional for advice on your own situation.

  • No. In fact, you should not select a mentor prior to completing an application.  Mentors and students are matched based on the student’s statement of interests and the research projects available in a given year.