NYU-Regeneron Veterinary Postdoctoral Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine Curriculum
The primary objective of the NYU-Regeneron Veterinary Postdoctoral Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine is to provide veterinary postdoctoral fellows with the dynamic skill sets and comprehensive knowledge base necessary to become competent laboratory animal veterinarians. Our program prepares postdocs for successful careers, whether in academia or industry.
Training program objectives include, but are not limited to, the following:
- to facilitate clinical competency when working with commonly used laboratory animal species
- to provide a comprehensive understanding of the regulations and requirements inherent in animal research
- to facilitate completion of a hypothesis-driven, first-authored research project resulting in a peer-reviewed journal publication
- to assist in the development of public speaking and presentation skills
- to further develop diagnostic necropsy skills and broaden the postdoc’s understanding of histopathology
- to provide exposure to laboratory animal facility management, including an introduction to staff management, with opportunities provided for personnel and facility oversight
- to encourage the development of one-on-one communication skills through regular interactions with investigators and animal care staff
- to provide Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol review and committee member experience while serving as an alternate member
- to provide the knowledge base necessary to obtain diplomate status in the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM)
The training program is divided into four fundamental components, the combination of which helps to ensure training program objectives are met. The four fundamental components are didactic training, clinical training, regulatory training, and a mentored research experience.
Didactic training occurs weekly throughout the three-year program. Didactic training encompasses a weekly seminar series, biweekly journal review sessions, clinical and anatomic pathology rounds, and formal coursework arranged through NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Faculty and postdocs present seminars, provide journal summaries, and participate in pathology rounds. Pathology rounds focus on laboratory animal species, and are designed to help veterinary postdocs further their understanding of, and capability to perform, anatomic pathology, as well as to help develop the skill sets necessary for the accurate interpretation of gross and microscopic lesions. Program coursework consists of three required courses: Scientific Integrity and the Responsible Conduct of Research; Immunology; and a required academic writing course, which can be coordinated in conjunction with the preparation of a scientific manuscript.
All clinical rotations are supervised by a clinical veterinarian or ACLAM-boarded faculty member. Laboratory animal clinical training occurs throughout the program on a rotation basis and encompasses anesthesia, surgery, pre- and postoperative care, necropsy, pathology, preventive medicine, husbandry, enrichment, and behavior. Clinical rotations are divided equally among NYU Langone, NYU, and Regeneron, with each institution offering a different clinical focus. As an example, Regeneron provides an exposure to large-scale rodent production, facility design, and management training while highlighting the biotech/pharma experience. As a clinical supplement, six additional clinical weeks are provided for elective rotations, which can be coordinated within the program or at program-approved externship locations.
Postdocs have the opportunity to observe IACUC meetings at all three participating institutions. At NYU Langone and NYU, postdocs take a more active participatory role in the IACUC process as institutionally appointed alternate IACUC committee members. In this role, postdocs are assigned IACUC protocols and amendment reviews, are required to participate in semiannual inspections, and may be asked to participate in IACUC subcommittees. The regulatory experience is guided by one-on-one faculty mentorship up until the point at which postdocs demonstrate an ability to consistently perform a thorough IACUC review. Training program participants are also strongly encouraged to participate in state and federal inspections, and American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) site visits, with opportunities to replicate regulatory experiences at all three institutions.
The Mentored Research Experience
Research projects must be hypothesis-driven with the expectation that the project will result in a first-authored publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Research projects that directly benefit the field of laboratory animal medicine are strongly encouraged. NYU Langone can help facilitate opportunities to partner with a research laboratory or a rodent core service, such as the Rodent Behavior Laboratory or the Preclinical Imaging Laboratory; however, the availability of research experiences external to the training program is not guaranteed.
Postdocs are required to draft and present a research project proposal to the full training program faculty. At the point at which the proposal is approved, each postdoc is allocated a period of up to 12 months to successfully execute their research project. Research time can be allocated as a single block of time, or it can be flexibly scheduled around clinical rotations. One or more ACLAM-boarded faculty members will actively mentor the postdoc throughout the research experience. Postdocs are strongly encouraged to apply for ACLAM Foundation grants and American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) Grants for Laboratory Animal Science (GLAS) as a means of exposure to the grant-writing process.