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DVM Focus Area - Clinician Scientist


The purpose of the Clinician Scientist Focus Area (CSFA) is to provide veterinary students with research opportunities that combine clinical and basic science. This focus area will be beneficial to two groups of students; firstly, those students who wish to pursue careers in basic science, and secondly, students that are interested in pursuing an academic career as a veterinary specialist. This focus area does not provide research training that would be equivalent to a Master's or PhD degree, but begins to teach the fundamental skills of scientific critical thinking and communication (written and oral), gives exposure to both bench and clinical research, and offers insight into non-traditional career choices involving research in veterinary medicine. Students in this focus area should plan to spend at least their first summer doing research. Research is also a substantial component of the 4th year experience.

Many faculty members have agreed to be advisors to students that select this focus area. Students who select the Clinician Scientist Focus Area select a primary advisor whom would then help the student assemble a small committee (composed of clinical and basic scientists) tailored to the interests and aims of the student. This committee guides the student during his/her program and assists in selecting the appropriate selectives and senior rotations, depending on the interests of the student and the research topic chosen for study. The focus area leader will provide oversight for the mentorship/planning process by approving all individual study plans generated by students and their advising committees. The focus area leader will also be responsible for approving externships (clinical or research) that are recommended via the advising process.

Recent/Current Number of Clinician Scientist Focused Students


Steps to Pursue the Clinician Scientist Focus Area

Year 1-3 Requirements

VMB 991: Introduction to Research at the CVM

"Introduction to Research at the CVM (VMB991)" is offered in the fall semester as a one-week selective and is required of all students interested in this focus area. Students are expected to take this selective in the fall of the first year of the DVM curriculum. This selective is open to any student interested in exploring the possibility of choosing the CSFA. Please note: Students who have an extended experience in research during their DVM program may be able to use this experience in place of the need for the research selective. Such students must obtain prior approval from the CSFA coordinator.

In this selective, mentors from a range of disciplines across the CVM and CCMTR will offer a one week full time experience covering clinical and/or basic research, related to their own expertise and interests.  Students will be given the opportunity to rank the research opportunities available, according to their own preferences, and will then be placed into the most appropriate lab for the week, usually in pairs. During the week the student will work closely with the mentor’s lab on a designated research project. At the end of the week the students are all required to present a 15 minute summary of their research projects to the rest of the group.

Summer Research

In addition to the required coursework, there is a requirement to spend at least the first summer conducting research approved by the advising committee. In the rare event that a student with substantial prior research experience is accepted into the program in the second year, it is expected that the student will spend the second summer conducting research approved by the advising committee.

Year 1-3 Recommended Courses

Selectives will be chosen based upon the career goals and research interests of the individual student, in consultation with their primary mentor and committee. Students are encouraged, although not required, to take additional research-related selectives (i.e. Molecular Medicine Initiative selectives such as Transgenics, Developmental Toxicology and Teratology, Embryo Biotechnology Research; or VMB 992 Biomedical Research Experience).

Fourth Year Required Rotations

Required Rotations

Choose one medicine rotation:

Choose one surgery rotation:

Choose one emergency rotation:

Choose one specialty rotations

Other Rotations

Students choosing the CSFA should meet with their mentor /research committee to select the other required clinical senior rotations, based on their own career goals and to compliment their research activities.  CSFA students will be given equal priority for their required rotations with students in the other focus areas. This list must be completed and approved by the guidance committee by the end of the second year.

Other Experiences

Scientific Communication

Clinical Conference

All fourth year students must give a 20-minute oral presentation of their choice during their senior year.This provides opportunity to present the results of research performed during the senior research rotations and/or performed during summer research experiences.

CVM Annual Research Forum

All CSFA students will be expected to present the results of their summer research experiences at the CVM research forum. Presentation can take the form of a poster or an oral presentation, but must include a written abstract.

Research Summary

All CSFA students must prepare a written summary of their research experience for the CSFA coordinator by the end of their 4th year. Although submission of a manuscript or grant application is not a formal requirement of the CSFA, the research summary can take the form of a manuscript submitted for publication or a grant application that includes preliminary data from the research performed.

Presentation of research findings at local, national, or international conferences will also be strongly encouraged.

Employment Opportunities/Externships/Funding

Research experience during at least the first summer is a critical component of this focus area. The CVM offers a summer research program for veterinary students (the Merck Merial Veterinary Scholars Program), which includes work in the lab of a CVM faculty member or that of a scientist at selected local institutions. Other summer research opportunities may be arranged in coordination with the primary advisor and advisory committee. Information on the Merck Merial Program and some other summer research opportunities are available here under the heading “Summer Research Internship Programs.

” Due to the limited time and high degree of importance of the summer research experience, the advisory committee and the CSFA coordinators must approve all summer research opportunities. In addition, some type of research experience, either clinical or bench research, will be a component of the 4th year rotations. Doing research in the same laboratory and/or on the same project for an extended period of time is not only allowed, but also encouraged as a means to gain substantial research experience that may result in publishable findings.

Research Opportunities outside NCSU

Other Externship Possibilities



Students may benefit from attending or presenting at a scientific conference. Annual meetings to consider will depend upon the area of research in which students are engaged. Some meetings to consider are:

NCSU-CVM Rounds/Seminars/Journal Clubs

Extracurricular Activities

Other Useful Information

Recommended Journals

Recommended Memberships

American Thoracic Society (

American Association of Cancer Research (

Recommended Electronic Mailing List

Useful Internet Sites
This website provides updates from the free access press regarding high impact/highly cited articles in a wide variety of biologically-relevant areas of research.