Comparative Medicine - Curriculum
Two years are normally required to satisfy the requirements for the Master of Science Degree with a major in Laboratory Animal Medicine.
During the first few months before formal classes begin in September, the student becomes familiar with the basic principles of the various laboratory techniques. Particular emphasis is given to the techniques and instruments to be used in the student's research project. The students also participate in laboratory animal handling, sample collection, and drug administration techniques.
For Master of Science degree, a minor in an academic discipline is also required. Approved minors have been established in neural and behavioral sciences, biochemistry and molecular biology, pathology, pharmacology, cellular and molecular physiology, and microbiology and immunology. Although a student does not necessarily become proficient in the area of the minor discipline, it does add to the breadth of his or her knowledge in a field related to laboratory animal medicine. The majority of the students do thesis research projects in the area of their minors; that is, they use the knowledge of the minor discipline to approach a problem in laboratory animal medicine.
The second year of the program emphasizes clinical skills and techniques, as well as research activity. The only formal course that is required during this year is one core class that is taught every other year.
Weekly grand rounds are held to discuss clinical material in depth. The students are responsible for presenting clinical data, differential diagnostic capabilities, and the results of the laboratory and/or necropsy studies. The faculty members join in discussing the case.
Weekly slide conferences with the veterinary pathologist allow students to achieve proficiency in histopathology and to permit them to become acquainted with numerous disease conditions of animals and man.
During the second year, students acquire residency experience and professional competence in the various areas of laboratory animal medicine. Each of these areas is organized so that the student's responsibility can be increased gradually. A faculty member discusses rounds with each student daily including the diagnosis and handling of diseases and assigns responsibility according to the individual student's development.
The student participates in many aspects of laboratory animal medicine during his/her residency assignments including:
- Administration (e.g., personnel management and policies, cost analysis, budget, and grant reviews)
- Animal experimentation (e.g., handling of acute, chronic, and infectious diseases, quarantine procedures, and radioisotopes)
- Breeding colonies (e.g., genetics, reproductive cytology and physiology)
- Experimental surgery (e.g., surgical techniques and postsurgical care
- Laboratory medicine (e.g., clinical chemistry, hematology, and microbiology)
- Necropsies (including histopathology)
- Diagnostic radiology
Although all students follow the same general program, the selection of research project and actual time spent on various assignments will vary according to their ultimate career objective.
Research is viewed by the department as an integral part of graduate education, i.e.; the intellectual stimulation of research in the biomedical sciences enhances the student's scholarly development. A wide variety of research projects is being conducted in the Department of Comparative Medicine, including the development of animal models, research on analgesia and anesthesia, environmental factors, and infectious diseases of laboratory animals. Members of the department also make substantial contributions in collaborative research studies with faculty from other departments.
Each graduate student works under the supervision of a graduate school faculty member of the College of Medicine, who may or may not be a member of the Department of Comparative Medicine. It is felt that the student's own interest, not just those available in the department, should dictate the course of research followed. The selection of a thesis advisor is in accordance with the student's research project, and the thesis committee includes at least one member from the Department of Comparative Medicine. The submission and defense of a thesis based on original research is required of all students.