Vet Sciences Students
UCSD Pre-Veterinary Student Association

Our mission is to train veterinarians in biomedical research, in laboratory animal medicine residencies, and to mentor pre-veterinary students.

Read about the upcoming Short Course in Veterinary Pain Management

As reported in the 2013 Workforce Needs in Veterinary Medicine, there are key employment areas requiring more veterinary graduates with advanced expertise. In many medical and veterinary schools, it is anticipated that 30-50% of the faculty will be retiring in the next 10 years at a time when student enrollments are being increased. In addition, the pharmaceutical industry lacks veterinarians with advanced research training who can contribute to basic and translational research programs.  DVM/VMD graduates have a training that is exceptionally relevant to the concept of “One Health” that, when combined with outstanding, advanced training to perform original research, enables them to contribute to biomedical research as principal investigators.

Research training for veterinarians - PhD or postdoctoral level

The UC San Diego Research Training Program for Veterinarians, led by Dr. Peter Ernst, offers advanced research training to DVM/VMD graduates enrolled fulltime in a formal degree-granting program (PhD) as well as postdoctoral training. Eligible candidates will be veterinary graduates who will pursue a didactic curriculum that has been tailored to reflect the 4 to 7 years of training they have already completed. The majority of their experience in the program will be conducting original research under the mentorship of highly-qualified faculty. The cadre of 25 mentors draws from several departments at UCSD and adjacent institutions. The research topics are focused on host-microbial interactions and comparative medicine. There is a particular emphasis on mucosal immunology including diseases of the digestive tract, lung and reproductive tract. This focus reflects the expertise of the associated faculty as well as the significance of these diseases for human and veterinary medicine. The approaches used encourage collaborations and include basic techniques in microbiology, immunology, metabolism, biochemistry, molecular biology, signaling and comparative pathology. Collectively, the mentors have trained more than 120 pre-doctoral students and 300 post-doctoral candidates over the last 10 years.

Open positions for research training

Students Training in Advanced Research (STAR) Program

Vet Sciences Students

The STAR (Students Training in Advanced Research) Program is an administrative program of the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis to coordinate and offer funding opportunities on a competitive basis to veterinary students to experience veterinary and biomedical research during the summer months. Research experiences are available at UC Davis and in San Diego through the UC Veterinary Medical Center partnership.

The objective of the STAR Program is to identify, nurture, and support veterinary students who will be guided through their work with faculty mentors to all aspects of veterinary and biomedical research, including:

  • Scientific dialogue and communication
  • Library and literature search and research
  • Laboratory conduct and professionalism
  • Research ethics and bioethics
  • Mentorship
  • Grantsmanship
  • Self-education and motivation
  • Critical review and assessment

Residency in Laboratory Animal and Comparative Medicine

The UC San Diego Training Program in Laboratory Animal and Comparative Medicine, led by Dr. Phil Richter, is part of its commitment to advanced, post-graduate training for veterinarians. The program was created in 2008 to develop skilled laboratory animal veterinarians eligible and capable of obtaining board certification by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM). The environment and resources for the LAM program includes UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, the Salk Institute, the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, the Sanford-Burnham Institute, San Diego Zoo Global’s San Diego Zoo, Safari Park and Institute for Conservation Research, Sea World San Diego and the La Jolla Laboratories of Pfizer.  Our LAM residents benefit from the more than 20 veterinarians from institutions in the immediate vicinity who participate in this program. This breadth provides many opportunities for research in an array of animal models of human disease. This program also provides a seminar program (the Southern California Comparative Medicine Group) that can be attended by trainees from the proposed UC San Diego Research Training Program for Veterinarians.

For more information on the Lab Animal Medicine Residency program, please contact Dr. Phil Richter at

Open Positions for a Residency in Laboratory Animal Medicine at UC San Diego

Course information:

Course on Mouse Models for Human Disease, BIOM227
Course on Practical Histopathology of Mouse Models of Human Disease, Path 234