UF veterinary medical student wins top award in research scholar program

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A third-year student at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine has received the 2018 Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Research Scholar Award for her investigation of a heart disease that affects Doberman pinschers.

The award is given to one veterinary student from colleges nationwide that participate in the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program. As the award recipient, Katy Taggart received $1,500, a plaque and the opportunity to present her work at the annual National Veterinary Scholars Symposium, held Aug. 2-4 in College Station, Texas.

The event was hosted this year by Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The symposium, co-sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, is the premier veterinary student research conference and highlights ways in which veterinary medical scientists advance basic and applied research to support global health.

Working with her mentors — Amara Estrada, D.V.M., a professor and veterinary cardiology specialist at UF, and Christy Pacak, Ph.D., an assistant professor with UF’s College of Medicine — Taggart developed a project that focused on the role of mitochondrial dysfunction as a root cause of dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes progressive deterioration of the heart’s function, in Dobermans with a specific genetic mutation.

The award is given on the basis of the quality of the application, strength of letters of recommendation and the diversity of the research work, according to Boehringer Ingelheim.