The Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine has degree programs for the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and Masters of Science (M.S.). In addition to these academic programs, MSU CVM also has a very active research program in both animal health and human health. Undergraduate students at MSU who are interested in gaining research experience in the biological sciences, especially in health-related specialties, can find very rewarding opportunities at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Our research faculty have served as mentors for undergraduate students from almost every college at MSU.
MSU CVM has several areas of strength in research. These areas include infectious disease, translational research, toxicology and biomedical research, food safety and epidemiology, and aquatic animal health.
Infectious disease research
MSU-CVM has historically had a very strong research program in infectious diseases, including bacterioloty, virology, immunology, and parasitology. Most of the infectious disease research relates to animal health, but there is a significant amount of research on human diseases as well. Some examples of infectious disease research at MSU CVM include: (1) Understanding the role of superantigens in Staphylococcus aureus infections; (2) Understanding the role of host-pathogen interactions in the virulence of Streptococcus pneumonia; (3) Determining viral molecules that mediate differences in host specificity for influenza viruses; (4) Determining the role of host enzymes in Shigella and Yersinia infections; (5) Determining mechanisms by which Listeria monocytogenes is able to survive in host immune cells, and (6) Developing new vaccines for bacteria causing disease in farm-raised catfish.
Translational Biomedical Research
The MSU CVM Translational Biomedical Research center (TBRc) was established in 2011 to develop and coordinate translational research efforts in the College by identifying and investigating natural, spontaneously-occurring, complex animal diseases that emulate human disease. The TBRc is currently investigating asthma, personalized cardiovascular medicine, immunosuppressive disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, cancer, and aging.
Food Safety and Epidemiology
These research topics range from the molecular level to population-based epidemiologic studies and from pre-harvest to post-harvest. CVM research on broilers has ranged from evaluation of risk factors associated with the occurrence of Salmonella and Campylobacter along the production and processing continuum, to the development of a system dynamics model of the immersion chill tank in the processing plant, to understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in attachment and invasion of Salmonella to skin and intestinal cells, respectively. Food safety research in cattle focuses on prevalence of shigatoxin producing Escherichia coli serotypes in cattle populations and in feedlot runoff. Other research work is directed towards Listeria monocytogenes effects in catfish and poultry. Several faculty with expertise in epidemiology and preventive veterinary medicine participate in the Risk Project at MSU, an affiliation of faculty interested in applying risk-based strategies to solve everyday problems in animal agriculture and include work on the development of an efficient cattle health and production record keeping system, causes and determinants of pneumonia in pre-weaned beef cattle, stocker cattle receiving programs, and assessing risk factors associated with the occurrence of diseases in poultry, among others.
Toxicology and Biomedical Research (Center for Environmental Health Sciences)
The Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) is a multi-disciplinary research center housed in the CVM that focuses on the impact of environmental chemicals on the health of humans, animals, and the environment. Eleven CVM faculty participate in Center activities. The goal of the research is to determine which environmental chemicals do or do not pose a threat to health, with a primary focus on human health. Main areas of research interest are neurotoxicology, endocrine disruption, immunotoxicology, and health disparities.
Aquatic Animal Health (Global Center for Aquatic Food Security)
Channel catfish aquaculture is the largest aquaculture industry in the U.S. in terms of acreage, production, and dollar value. MSU-CVM has a very strong concentration of faculty expertise in aquatic animal health, including research in bacteriology, virology, immunology, parasitology, and toxicology, particularly in warmwater aquaculture. In 2013, MSU formed the Global Center for Aquatic Food Security to stimulate interaction and collaboration among MSU faculty in aquatic animal health, aquaculture, and fisheries for development of scholarly activity, education of students, and submission of grant proposals. The GCAFS will collaborate also with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to promote and engage MSU faculty in aquatic animal health, aquaculture, and fisheries in international activities in developing countries. These international activities will address sustainable aquaculture to reduce world hunger through capacity building, aquatic diagnostics, and investigative research.
MSU students interested in conducting research in one of these areas or in other health-related research areas for humans or animals can contact the CVM Office of Research and Graduate Studies