A memorandum of understanding between Virginia Tech and Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) in Chennai, India, and a grant from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) under the US-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative have facilitated a collaborative student and faculty exchange program between VMRCVM and TANUVAS. So far, 20 DVM students have participated in summer clinical internships at TANUVAS, and 19 DVM students from India have participated in clinical training at VMRCVM.
As part of the exchange program, eight students from VMRCVM underwent a clinical training program this summer at the various campuses of TANUVAS, including field visits to exotic animal farms, wild life sanctuaries, and elephant reserves. During the six-week training program, the DVM students attended clinical rotations in small and large animal internal medicine and surgery, and specialty clinics, including cardiology at Chennai and Namakkal veterinary schools of the university.
The students were also trained in biomedical research at the Department of Animal Biotechnology and necropsy procedures. During field visits, they were trained in handling, restraint, and treatment of wild animals and attended a mass contact program in a tribal village.
Additionally, five senior DVM students from TANUVAS attended clinical training at VMRCVM from August to September. These students were trained in production of animal medicine, large animal clinical sciences, small animal surgery, cardiology, anesthesiology, and necropsy. They also underwent a one-week rotation in biomedical research in the laboratory of Dr. Elankumaran Subbiah.
The collaboration between VMRCVM and TANUVAS has helped launch four international conferences, including two clinical case presentation conferences, which were jointly conducted with overwhelming participation with scientists and students.
VMRCVM co-hosted an international Seminar on “Frontiers of Stem cell and Biotechnology” in human and veterinary medicine in Chennai, July 15-16. The conference was inaugurated by Mr. Bryan W. Dalton, acting Consul General, U.S. Embassy, and included scientists from Yamanashi University Hospital, Japan and VMRCVM, including Dr. Elankumaran Subbiah, Dr. Willard Eyestone, and Dr. Jennifer Barrett.
One visiting faculty member from TANUVAS, Dr. Murali Manohar, director of the Center for Animal Health Studies, was on a three-month exchange fellowship sponsored by VMRCVM and American Society for Microbiology.
Besides student and faculty exchanges, collaborative research programs have also been initiated and pursued between TANUVAS and VMRCVM research faculty. Recently, a journal article was published in the Journal of Virological Methods as a result of collaborative research between Dr. Subbiah’s laboratory and the Department of Animal Biotechnology, TANUVAS. Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, VMRCM dean, Dr. Ansar Ahmed, head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, and Dr. Nammalwar Sriranganathan, professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology, visited TANUVAS in September 2010. There they initiated an animal experiment for testing the efficacy of drug-laden polymeric nanomaterials for treating Brucellosis in cattle.
With tremendous support from Dr. Jennifer Hodgson, Associate Dean for Professional Programs, and Dr. Jacque Pelzer, Director of Admissions and Student Services, efforts are underway to convert the summer clinical internship in India and VMRCVM into a credit course. Dr. Ansar Ahmed is also exploring the possibilities of exchange of diagnostic histology materials and academic content between these two institutions.