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Source: Megan Lawrence, mlawrenc@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Beth Bohn, 785-532-2535, bbohn@k-state.edu

Thursday, July 7, 2011

AS VETERINARY STUDENT SCHOLAR, K-STATER FROM LEAVENWORTH GETTING HANDS-ON RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

MANHATTAN -- An international veterinary scholar program is helping a Kansas State University student with her goal of becoming a practicing veterinarian and researcher.

Megan Lawrence, second-year veterinary medicine student from Leavenworth, is participating in the Morris Animal Foundation's 2011 Veterinary Student Scholar program. Lawrence is one of 81 students nationwide to be selected for the competitive program, which gives veterinary students hands-on training in research.

The Morris Animal Foundation is a nonprofit organization that funds humane animal health research. Through the program, veterinary students or nonveterinary graduate students receive stipends up to $4,000 to participate in clinical or basic animal health and/or welfare research. Students selected conduct research projects in the areas of small and large companion animal and wildlife health, and on topics ranging from genetics to reproduction. The research experience exposes students to methods of scientific research early in their careers.

Lawrence's project is "The Effects of Cefovecin on the Fecal Flora of Healthy Dogs." It looks at how giving the antibiotic Cefovecin to canines will affect their fecal bacteria, including E. coli, salmonella and enterococcus. Her faculty mentor is Kate KuKanich, assistant professor of clinical sciences at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine.

"We are looking into the bacterial load and bacterial resistance," Lawrence said. "I selected this project because I wanted to get involved in a pathobiology project that also had clinic relevance. It's been a great opportunity to learn several new techniques as the project ranges from collecting samples from dogs, to plating bacteria to running PCR -- polymerase chain reaction -- a laboratory technique. I also am very interested in antibiotic resistance, since it is a growing concern in veterinary and human medicine."

After earning her doctor of veterinary medicine degree, Lawrence would like to be a practicing clinician and possibly get board certified in small animal internal medicine or small animal surgery. She's would like to have a position where she can practice veterinary medicine and do research.

Since the inception of its Veterinary Student Scholars program in 2005, the Morris Animal Foundation has given more than 300 grants to students at more than 50 different colleges and universities in 15 countries. This year the number of applications for the program doubled. Students in the program begin their projects this summer and will present their findings at one of three foundation meetings in 2012.

Lawrence is the daughter of Mike and Cheryl Dufresne, Leavenworth, and a 2007 graduate of Pleasant Ridge High School.