INSPIRE Funded Student Reports

INSPIRE Funded Student Reports

First National Vet Student Research Conference,
November 2017

Kirsten commented, 'Many veterinary students who had research projects over this summer or over the last year presented on their topics at the conference. Students were funded by different organisations, though mine was funded by the BBSRC. Overall it was a really interesting learning experience and gave me a good glimpse into veterinary research careers.'

Congratulations to Kirsten Landsgaard and Sarah McMahon who won prizes at the First National Vet Student Research Conference held in Bristol on 11 November. Kirsten received a prize for her oral presentation titled: 'What's the big diff? C. difficile carriage and disease in dogs’, and Sarah received a prize for her poster titled: 'Disturbances alter the vocalisations and behaviour of broiler chickens'.


Image of National Students' One Health Conference banner

Adriana Pena

Funding application

a) why you want to attend (~100 words)
  • I applied to be the junior student rep for the University of Glasgow’s vet school because One Health is a concept that has always fascinated me.  I firmly believe that most things in life are interconnected and enjoy learning about how that is applied to science and the world around us.  When I learned that this conference was taking place, I was keen to get involved and attend the conference.  I am excited to hear about current research and its interdisciplinary impact.  I am interesting in meeting students from other universities that have these same interests and what they have learned in their studies.

b) how the activity will inspire veterinary undergraduates to consider a career in research (~100 words)
  • The conference will inspire veterinary undergraduates to consider a career in research because it may open their eyes to the opportunities that lie beyond becoming clinicians.  There will be talks by various different professionals across many fields about how their research impacts One Health.   I anticipate their roles in research to be inspiring and may motivate students to look into different career options.  I think it will also be exciting to hear about current projects that are impacting global health and how students might get involved.

c) how this activity/event will influence your future career aspirations (~100 words)
  • I believe the One Health conference will be an inspiring weekend.  My interests post vet school are wildlife management and how it can impact global health.  That is what has motivated me to be involved in organizing this event.  I hope to be able to meet and interact with people in different fields and see how I may be able to get involved in the future.  I look forward to networking with not only these professionals, but also other undergraduates and see if they know of any opportunities ahead.

Article in support of the Inspire Programme Funding

On November 12, 2016 the first National Students’ One Health Conference was held at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. Students across different disciplines, from different universities, gathered together for a weekend of lectures covering some very interesting topics. The aim of the weekend was to exemplify how different disciplines could come together to promote One Health - the idea that human health, animal health and ecosystem health are all interlinked. The weekend started with a warm welcome from the head of the vet school. Lectures kicked off with a perfect example of the One Health concept from our first speaker - Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka. Her lecture, entitled ‘Using One Health to Promote Conservation and Sustainable Development’ was both captivating and inspiring. She spoke about how in Uganda, tourists pay a lot of money to visit with gorillas in their natural habitat. This influx of money means that the locals are paid to provide protection for the gorillas by ensuring that they thrive. The locals have come to understand that without the gorillas, they lose tourism and thus income. This relationship has led to improving the local attitudes towards wildlife, less poaching, and improving hygiene where there is interaction between people and wildlife. She also spoke about how her organization, ‘Conservation through Public Health’ has gone on to open clinics for the locals that focuses on human health and family planning. Following her lecture, we heard from other professionals on topics such as climate change, antimicrobial resistance, pathogenic virus persistence, zika virus and rabies elimination programs. After lectures, we gathered together to enjoy a lovely wine reception and catered meal at the school. The food was great and the room looked really lovely. You could really tell that a lot of effort was made for us and it didn’t go unappreciated. After dessert we were invited into a seminar room for whisky and a ceilidh. Not only was it so great to meet students from other universities who were interested in global health but it was great to share a couple of dances with them as well!

On Sunday, the day continued with more lectures as well as two, hour long workshops on antimicrobial resistance and the economics of global poverty. I really found the economics lecture to be eye opening and it seemed that the whole group was in awe of the shocking truth about the global distribution of wealth and the third world debt crisis. It seems as though one approach to disease eradication is to improve environments by eliminating poverty. The only way this can happen in third world countries is to overhaul wealth exchange throughout the world. The antimicrobial resistance workshop was also great. While it’s a topic we cover quite a bit in vet school, it was interesting to see that the medical students were also well informed about the topic. We spoke about things we should consider when prescribing antibiotics and how resistance can impact the future of our industries.

Overall, the weekend was excellent. It provided a wealth of information that I believe really interested the wide range of students in attendance. The committee did an absolutely amazing job at putting it all together and I look forward to next year’s conference.

Adriana Pena


Gus Brihn

Funding application

a) why you want to attend (~100 words)
  • One Health is a growing profession and I am very interested in it as a career.  The past two months I have been doing research with Dom Mellor on One Health related topics but unfortunately I am the only student in my year (that I know of) who is interested in One Health as a career.  Therefore reason to attend this conference, along with hearing influential speakers, is to connect with other people interested in the field of One Health.  As I am approaching the end of my veterinary degree, it is important for me to network as much as possible to try and create those important initial contacts for the future.

b) how the activity will inspire veterinary undergraduates to consider a career in research (~100 words)
  • It will provide a good opportunity to hear and discuss with people active in the field of One Health from a variety of different backgrounds and provide a perspective on how one could possibly enter a career in research.  Hopefully there will be individual speakers, researching topics of interest to me, who I can then discuss potential future opportunities with.

c) how this activity/event will influence your future career aspirations (~100 words)
  • I hope to gain a better understanding of what a One Health practitioner does and hopefully that will provide insight into where I would like to take my career.  As I am nearing the end of my degree I am trying to narrow down where my interests are exactly and an event like this will hopefully aid in that process.  I am set on a career in research but where exactly that will fall I am still undecided, so to be able to hear many people talk about different areas of One Health will be beneficial.

Article in support of the Inspire Programme Funding

The National One Health Conference, which took place at the University of Edinburgh, was a great opportunity to explore the different avenues and current research taking place in the field of One Health.  The conference brought together students from all seven veterinary schools in the UK and the speakers ranged from veterinarians to academic researchers discussing a variety of topics pertaining to One Health.

A specific area of interest for me was the research and discussion about antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The chief veterinary officer spoke on the current status and debate about AMR. This was particularly of topic for me because I had been working on AMR as part of my selective rotation at Health Protection Scotland. My work focused on antimicrobial prescribing behaviors in UK, Netherlands, and Denmark. It was great to hear the CVO discuss similar issues and conclusions that I discovered in my own research. Many times while working on my own AMR research I found it could become discouraging because I sometimes felt like I was hitting a brick wall and not accomplishing what you set out to do. Therefore, hearing the CVO discuss AMR and highlight the current issues and successes was very beneficial and encouraging.

This conference also provided key networking experiences. I met many other students from around the UK studying a range of different degrees from veterinary and medical sciences to biomedical sciences. With research and public health often being the minority of taught courses and area of interest with students, it was great to be surrounded by like-minded people, all with a similar interest in One Health.

The amazing thing about One Health is that it encompasses a huge range of topics but at times I believe this can be its hindrance as well. Although each topic of discussion during the conference was very interesting in its own right, the difference with One Health compared to other specialties is that it often feels like there is a lack of cohesiveness. When compared to a conference on cardiology for example, all or most of the lectures in that conference would pertain to a common subject area whereas with One Health, there isn’t always common thread.  This is where I think One Health is still struggling to get its feet.

One Health is such broad topic and this is where conferences like this help to focus it into manageable pieces. The other great thing about this conference is that it brought together subjects which may not have normally interacted with one another. In all this conference provided me with insight into the multifaceted One Health research career and gave me a better understanding of the different possibilities available to an aspiring researcher. I would highly recommend attending this conference next year or one similar if you have any interest in One Health or research.

Gus Brihn