Student Poster Presentations



Interact with students from UC Davis and WesternU as they share poster presentations. Meet your future colleagues as they explain, discuss, and answer questions about their research. The posters will be on display in the Vet Expo throughout the conference. Students will be available to discuss them during the lunch breaks on Friday, June 30 and Saturday, July 1. Students will also be there during the afternoon break on Friday from 2:50 PM–3:40 PM.

UC Davis Students 

Jennifer Chan 

Ms. Chan realized that veterinary medicine encompassed her love for science and animals. She continued to foster this passion while studying biology and anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. Currently she is a second-year student (DVM class of 2019) at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She looks forward to pursuing a career in internal medicine. 

Fluoroscopic Estimation of Thoracic Dimensional Changes in Healthy Dogs 
This study investigated whether inspiratory to expiratory change in lung area as assessed by fluoroscopy would result in reproducible measures that could be used for future evaluation of lung function in dogs with respiratory disease. Fluoroscopic videos of 10 respiratory cycles in 44 unsedated dogs with no evidence of respiratory disease were recorded, and maximal inspiratory and expiratory images from three cycles were evaluated. Thoracic cavity pixels were measured for inspiration and expiration, and the average percent change in thoracic dimension was determined. This process was repeated using a hemithorax measurement that excluded the mediastinum and cardiac silhouette. Median percent change in thoracic dimension for the total thorax measurement was 12.5% (confidence interval of 8.91–23.97%). Median percent change for the hemithorax measurement (20.8%) was significantly different with a larger interval of 14.32–37.61%, rendering it more responsive to lung area changes. 


Grace England 

Ms. England is a second-year student at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (DVM class of 2019). Her interests include equine medicine and physiology research. In the fall of 2017, she plans to pursue a PhD in physiology before completing the third and fourth years of her DVM curriculum. Ms. England hopes to enter academia to teach and mentor future veterinary students.

Characterization of the Satellite Glial Cell (SGC) in the Extrinsic Sensory Innervation of the gut in Rodent High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity (DIO)
We sought to characterize the response of satellite glial cells (SGCs) in the nodose ganglion (NG) to high-fat diet (HFD)-induced inflammation and diet-induced obesity (DIO). Wistar rats were maintained on HF or control diets to examine (SGC) phenotype in acute response to (HFD) (1 day), during development of (DIO) (4 weeks), and upon full establishment of DIO (9 weeks).  SGC phenotype was examined via immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. Compared to chow-fed rats, SGCs of one-day HFD-fed rats showed increased activation (significantly increased Iba1 expression) (p<0.05, n=3). A trend toward a pro-inflammatory macrophagic phenotype (increased iNOS, decreased Arg1) was observed in SGCs of a few one-day HFD-fed rats. Co-localization of Iba1 and LepR on SGC membranes suggests SGCs do express LepR and could attenuate development of DIO through leptin signaling. Our data justifies continued investigation of SGC roles in DIO.


Steven Hsu 

Mr. Hsu (DVM 2018) currently attends UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He did his undergraduate work in animal science at UC Davis with a focus on physiology. Upon entering veterinary school, he was set on becoming a livestock vet however, later switched to pursue small animal medicine. His current interests include anatomic pathology and research. More specifically, cancer, translational research, and animal models of human disease.

Transfection and Expression of a Full-Length Canine Circovirus Molecular Clone 
Since the discovery of canine circovirus (CaCirV) in 2012, there have been multiple reports describing its association with enteric and systemic disease in dogs and other canids. CaCirV can also be detected in the feces of normal, healthy dogs. Much remains unknown about the factors that determine the severity of an infection. While continuing research on natural cases is unequivocally valuable to determining these factors, the establishment of a viral culture is also critical in studying the host-pathogen interaction. Therefore, we developed an in vitro research model by constructing a full-length molecular clone of CaCirV. This project will be the first of our knowledge to demonstrate production of canine circovirus from an infectious clone, providing an in vitro model for the study of canine circoviral pathogenesis. 


Yu Sato

Ms. Sato is a second-year student at UC Davis (DVM class of 2019). She earned a B.S. in molecular environmental biology at UC Berkeley in 2015. She is currently interested in becoming a research clinician and being involved in non-profit global veterinary work. She is planning to do yearlong research after her second year and possibly earning a Ph.D. degree.  

Behavioral Temperament of Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta) is Associated with Early Establishment of The Gut Microbiota 
Given the recent increasing recognition of the microbiota-gut-brain axis, we investigate the link between the early life gut microbial communities and the semi-quantitative assessment of the nervous temperament in rhesus macaques. We hypothesize that nervous temperament in infant macaques is associated with early establishment of gut microbiota.

To test our hypothesis, we collected mother-infant dyads from different social groups at the California National Primate Research Center. Infant behavior was scored by using biobehavioral assessment. We characterized microbial communities of two cohorts, most and least “nervous” infant macaques using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing followed by the dimension reduction methods and cluster analysis techniques in R. Our study suggested that there was a pattern of the gut microbiota compositions that may explain a difference in most and least “nervous” infant macaques. 


Ash Sundaram 

Ms. Sundaram is currently a student at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (DVM 2022). She is pursuing a combined DVM/Ph.D. program (VSTP program) and has completed her bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from India and master’s degree in computer science from Cal Poly. Ms. Sundaram’s research interests include cancer biology and cell signaling. After graduation, she hopes to work in academia.

Deciphering the Interaction Between Feline Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) and CD8+T Cells in Vitro
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells with the ability to modulate both innate and adaptive immune responses. Hence, they are a promising therapy for both immune-mediated and inflammatory disorders. Our lab investigates the use of MSCs for feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FGGS), a debilitating immune mediated oral disease of cats. This can serve as a spontaneous disease model for immune-mediated oral diseases in humans including pemphigus. We are conducting a series of in vitro experiments of CD8+ T cells and MSCs to help us understand two things. The first, if MSC priming of CD8+ T cells results in a population of CD8+ TRegs with regulatory function. We evaluate this by their ability to suppress activated CD4 T cells. The second is if MSC priming of CD8+ T cells is mediated by cell to cell contact or soluble mediators. We will present the results of these experiments and conclusions.


WesternU Students 

Cosette Faivre 

Ms. Faivre is a second-year student (DVM class of 2019) at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine. Last summer, she completed a pathology internship at Western University. Ms. Faivre’s veterinary interests include internal, equine, and zoo medicine. In 2016, she presented a poster presentation at the ACVP national conference describing a case of Cryptococcus in a goat.

Three Case Reports of Nasal Cryptococcoma in Southern California 
Cryptococcus is an encapsulated fungal pathogen that can infect many different species, including humans. The most frequent presentations affect the respiratory and nervous systems. In the past two years, three animals—two cats and a goat—that presented for postmortem examination were suffering from space-occupying lesions associated with Cryptococcus spp. in the nasal cavity. All animals had a history of respiratory illness, and one cat also had concurrent neurologic signs. Gross examinations revealed a pale, firm mass variably located within the nasal cavity that effaced and replaced all surrounding structures. Histopathology on all cases revealed countless round yeast-like organisms with a thick capsule and centrally-located nucleus, compatible with Cryptococcus spp. Diagnosis of cryptococcosis was made based on histopathology, culture, and PCR. The description of these cases may aid in identifying the current status of Cryptococcus in Southern California. 


Jaclyn Gosliga



Ms. Gosliga received her BS in animal science and her MS in molecular, cellular, and integrative physiology from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Her research has focused primarily on improving anesthesia practices in rabbits. Currently she is a first-year student (DVM 2018) at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine. She will be exploring several different career paths following graduation.

Dopamine and Phenylephrine Fail to Correct Hypotension in Isoflurane Anesthetized Rabbits 
Rabbits are a common companion animal and research species for which the anesthesia-related mortality rate is seven to eight times the rates for cats and dogs. The severe, and often pronounced, hypotensive effects of inhalation anesthetics in rabbits may be one contributing factor to the high risk of anesthesia related deaths in this species. Although positive inotropes and vasopressors are frequently used to correct hypotension in cats and dogs, there is little published information on the effects of these drugs in isoflurane-anesthetized rabbits. We hypothesized that in isoflurane-anesthetized rabbits, administration of dopamine would increase cardiac output and blood pressure in a dose-dependent manner but that administration of phenylephrine would increase blood pressure with no change in cardiac output.


Mihal Kaminsky

Ms. Kaminsky completed the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program at Los Angeles Pierce College while working as an oncology and internal medicine technician. Currently she is a second-year student (DVM 2019) at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation, she is planning to do an internship, residency, and become a board-certified veterinary surgeon. 

The Use of a Head Camera for Video Self-Assessment of Surgical Performance of Veterinary Students 
The aim of our study is to determine if the use of video recording for self-assessment will benefit novice surgeons and improve basic surgical skills in veterinary medicine. We hypothesize that students who view their self-recorded surgery, followed by self-assessment of their surgical performance, will have improved performance on the subsequent surgical procedure compared with those who perform a self-assessment without viewing a video recording. To support our hypothesis, we divided third-year students into two groups (A and B) to perform ovariohysterectomy/ovariectomy and orchiectomy procedures on dogs and cats with a GoPro head camera to review for self-assessment. For the first surgery, only Group A reviewed their surgery performance with their recorded video and Group B did not. After the second surgery, the evaluators’ scores were compared between the first and second surgery of each student and between the groups.


Athena Kepler 

Ms. Kepler is a second-year student (DVM class of 2019) at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine. She has a B.S. in bioengineering. Musculoskeletal biomechanics has always been intriguing and thus her focus is innovative engineering within veterinary sports medicine. 

Volumetric Analysis of The Equine Hoof Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging 

The objective of this study was to examine the geometric properties of the equine hoof using MRI technology and provide a benchmark for the three-dimensional (3-D) anatomy of the healthy equine hoof. There is a great necessity to introduce volumetric data characterizing the hoof’s structure.

The MRI images from 18 live Standardbred horses were examined. None of the horses in the study had any clinical evidence of hoof pathologies. Our data establishes scientific values for empirical knowledge of hoof structure. Many correlations and trends are evident. Statistical tests used were Shapiro-Wilkins and Anderson-Darling tests and Pearson's product moment correlation coefficient. Any P value <0.05 were considered significant.  

Our results provide the foundation of linear and volumetric data for 3-D hoof anatomy and provides valuable information for clinicians and researchers to better identify internal hoof abnormalities and differentiate pathological cases.


Samantha Phillips 



Ms. Phillips is a second-year student (DVM class of 2019) at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine. She achieved a BS from Temple University in biology where she worked in a laboratory setting as a student researcher for one summer, as a veterinary nurse in an emergency hospital for three years, and as a small animal exotic animal shelter coordinator for five years. Ms. Phillips is also a student investigator.

Injectable Combination Anesthetic Protocol Using Alfaxalone in Rats 
By investigating the anesthetic duration and cardiopulmonary effects of IM alfaxalone combined with butorphanol and dexmedetomidine in rats, we aim to establish useful data for clinicians who may consider injectable alfaxalone anesthetic protocols over established agents such as propofol, ketamine, and telazol, as the latter differ in duration, quality of induction/recovery, and cardiopulmonary effects. Limited information exists regarding analgesic or cardiopulmonary effects of the injectable IM alfaxalone, butorphanol, and dexmedetomidine anesthetic protocol investigated in this study, particularly the pharmacodynamics of combination. It is hypothesized that combining alfaxalone with sedatives and narcotic analgesics will offer safe, effective, and convenient alternatives to existing protocols. Further, the cardiopulmonary stability of this combination may make it especially useful for critical patients. With eight successful inductions and recoveries completed to date, our study presents novel data for clinically-relevant use of alfaxalone in rats.