2023 Summer Student Opportunities

Summer Employment Information Session

January 13, 2023


Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity

Project: UCVM Reindeer Herd Health Study

Research using reindeer makes an important contribution to the research effort of UCVM. Recently there have been significant scientific advancements by the research labs of Dr. Jeff Biernaskie and Dr. Hermann Schaetzl using UCVM’s reindeer herd. These advancements require further investigation which will put increasing demands on the reindeer herd. To manage the demand the herd needs to grow in numbers. This can be done through breeding, which is ongoing, but it is a slow process. To more rapidly increase the herd size additional new animals could be brought in. Before new animals are introduced it is important that the current conditions and disease status of the resident reindeer herd be understood. The goal of the student summer position is to collect and organize basic information needed to undertake an epidemiological investigation and to initiate this analysis..

  • Application Deadline: Feb 3, 2023
  • Position Start Date: May 8, 2023
  • Position End Date: August 25, 2023

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Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity

In this project, we will study the role of intestinal-localized proteases in enterocolitis and how these enzymes trigger gut cell signaling to cause inflammation and tissue damage. Such intestinal protein-cleaving enzymes are crucial in the “leaky” gut syndrome.

Project: An antibiotic-free treatment for post-weaning diarrhea in pigs targeting proteases in the inflamed gut

  • Application Deadline: Jan 15, 2023
  • Position Start Date: May 1, 2023
  • Position End Date: August 30, 2023

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Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity for DVM Student

After equine tendon injury, biomechanically inferior fibrotic (scar) tissue forms at the injury site representing an important weakness predisposing this tissue to chronic re-injury. Indeed, up to 80% of horses do not return to racing after sustaining an SDFT injury, even after 6-26 months of rest and rehabilitation. Of horses that do return to racing, there is a re-injury rate of ~53% within 3 years. While the field of “regenerative medicine” seeks to develop novel therapeutics to help the body better heal these injuries by regenerating new tissues rather than forming nonfunctional scar tissue, a key limitation in this approach is our limited understanding of the inherant capacity for tendon healing. Thus, the goal of this project is to define the specific populations of cells normally present across the span of tendon health.

Project: Equine tendon injury: what are the key cellular players?

  • Application Deadline: Jan 15, 2023
  • Position Start Date: May 2023
  • Position End Date: August 2023

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Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity for DVM Student

During this work, the student will collect blood from a group of horses and process PRP with several different commerical kits. They will then gain expertise with common laboratory techniques such as cytology and immunohistochemistry to characterize these cells. Using tissue donated from cadavers, the student will also develop and utilize an equine “joint in a dish” model to test various PRP preparations in order to better predict efficacy of the clinical product for the treatment of joint injury in the horse. This information will provide clinicians with more information for the evidenced-based use of PRP in clinical practice.

Project: White Blood Cells in Platelet Rich Plasma - Friend or Foe?

  • Application Deadline: Jan 15, 2023
  • Position Start Date: May 2023
  • Position End Date: August 2023

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Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity

As a result of changes in climate and land use, some species of ticks are expected to expand into areas with previously unsuitable habitat.  The emergence and spread of ticks and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) in Canada, is of concern for human and animal health.  One emerging concern is the expansion of Lyme disease in Eastern Canada, and the western spread of the black legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) into Manitoba and potentially into Saskatchewan and Alberta. We are also learning more about the expanding habitat range of the Western black legged tick (I.pacificus) which is associated with Lyme disease transmission in British Columbia. Due to potential changes in disease risk, there is a need for the development of comprehensive risk assessments and habitat distribution models to inform the development of tick and TBD surveillance plans, and policy, related to ticks and tick-borne diseases. Up to two summer student positions are available with these supervisors.

Project: Tick ecology and tick borne diseases in Alberta

  • Application Deadline: Jan 16, 2023
  • Position Start Date: May 8, 2023
  • Position End Date: August 25, 2023

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Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a highly contagious prion disease in free-ranging and captive deer and elk which is increasing dramatically in many countries, including Canada.  Provincial surveillance revealed that in recent years, mostly mule deer have tested positive for CWD; however, in 2020, an increase in infected white-tailed deer was also evident. Elk and moose are also susceptible to CWD infection. Environmental contamination with prions, caused by shedding of CWD prions by infected cervids in urine, saliva and feces, and decomposing carcasses is a significant driver of CWD transmission. CWD prions adhere to soil particles, persisting for many years in an infectious state, and can bind to or be taken up by plants. Transmission to other noncervid species may provide other reservoirs of infection. in this project, we aim to evaluate the impact of an oral vaccination strategy on minimizing the environmental contamination, which, will be effective in reducing the spread of CWD.

Project: Developing vaccines against chronic wasting disease

  • Application Deadline: Jan 27, 2023
  • Position Start Date: May 1, 2023
  • Position End Date: August 31, 2023

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Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity

The number of follicles that a cow will be able to ovulate during her life is determined at birth. Formation of the follicular reserve takes place during the first trimester of pregnancy. Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) is a marker of this follicular reserve and is associated with fertility potential and reproductive longevity (permanence in the herd). This project will explore the effects of maternal stress during mid-pregnancy on the ovarian follicular reserve using AMH concentrations in young heifer calves.

Project: Maternal stress during weaning may affect ovarian follicular formation in replacement heifers

  • Application Deadline: Jan 15, 2023
  • Position Start Date: May 1, 2023
  • Position End Date: August 31, 2023

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Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity for DVM Student

We are looking for an undergraduate DVM student with a keen interest in beef cattle health to support a Master student with a project focused on infectious foot lesions in feedlots. The skills gained in this research are focused on applied research, as the question was raised by veterinarians in the field (Coaldale Vet Clinic and VAHS). Through the vet clinics, and the principal investigator Karin Orsel and Team Beef members we can guarantee the trainee to be conducting research in a vibrant learning environment at the UofC and in the field; as we will identify learning opportunities in line with the students interest.

Project: Foot rot in feedlots in Alberta

  • Application Deadline: Feb 1, 2023
  • Position Start Date: May 1, 2023
  • Position End Date: August 15, 2023

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Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity

Positions (2): Undergraduate Research Assistant

Bacteriophages are viruses that specifically infect bacteria. They are natural biological agents of bacteria and a leading alternative to antibiotics for treating infectious disease in humans. Our research interest focuses on 1) characterizing diversity of bacteriophages using genomics and bioinformatics; 2) developing phage-derived products for biocontrol of zoonotic pathogens. We are currently looking for 2 dynamic research-oriented undergraduates to complement a team of graduate students for a summer of intense research fun.

Project: Bacteriophage genomics and application

  • Application Deadline: Jan 16, 2023
  • Position Start Date: May 1, 2023
  • Position End Date: August 31, 2023

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Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity for DVM Student

Gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) can result in severe disease in sheep in Western Canada. Until 2016, Ivermectin and benzimidzoles have been the main drug classes used historically. Resistance to these two drug classes is now widespread for Hameonchus contortus and a major problem for control. This summer project is a continuation of our work on drug resistance we have undertaken since 2015 as part of a longitudinal study to examine how anthelmintic resistance is changing over time. It will also apply and test for a new molecular diagnostic marker for levamisole resistance.  The work will be performed in Calgary, involving communication with producers and laboratory work to process samples received by mail.

Project: Longitudinal study of anthelmintic drug resistance in western Canadian sheep flocks and application of a molecular diagnostic marker for levamisole resistance

  • Application Deadline: Jan 25, 2023
  • Position Start Date: May, 2023
  • Position End Date: August, 2023

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For more information about the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program click here