Applications Open for the 2024 WSAVA Michael J. Day

Veterinary students with an interest in companion animal infectious disease, clinical vaccinology or immunology encouraged to apply

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Applications are now open for the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) 2024 Michael J. Day Scholarship for veterinary students. The Scholarship provides financial assistance towards a research project into an aspect of small companion animal infectious disease, clinical vaccinology or immunology. It was created to recognize Emeritus Professor Michael Day’s contribution to vaccinology and immunology in companion animals in his role as Chair of the WSAVA’s Vaccination Guidelines Group from 2009 until March 2020. The Scholarship is generously supported by MSD Animal Health.

All veterinary students studying towards a registerable veterinary degree in an accredited veterinary establishment in a country in which the WSAVA has a member association are eligible to apply for the Scholarship. Full details and guidance on the application process, together with eligibility criteria are available here: https://wsava.org/resources/michael-j-day-scholarship/

The first WSAVA Michael J. Day Scholar was announced in 2022 and the selected Scholar, Nepalese veterinary student Somnath Aryal, studied the prevalence of canine tick-borne diseases in the dog population of Nepal, one of the first initiatives to survey these diseases at the species level. Data from the project has helped to highlight the importance of diagnosing and preventing canine tick-borne diseases in veterinary clinics in Nepal.

Dr Aryal, who has recently graduated from the Agriculture and Forestry University in Nepal, said: “The findings of my research project shed new light on the prevalence and molecular characteristics of canine tick-borne diseases in Nepal where they pose significant health risks to both dogs and humans. This knowledge is crucial for the implementation of effective prevention and control strategies and is now available to veterinarians across Nepal.”

The 2023 Scholar, German veterinary student Lotta Truyen, is working on a project to improve understanding as to how canine distemper virus (CDV)-specific maternal antibodies are transmitted from mothers to puppies in order to improve future CDV vaccine strategies. She is carrying out her research at the Caddy Lab at Cornell University, New York, USA.

The deadline for applications for the 2024 Michael J. Day Scholarship is 31 July 2024. The successful Scholar will be informed by the end of October 2024. Their research project is expected to be conducted between January and September 2025. Within three months of completion, the Scholar will be expected to provide a 1,500-word report on their findings. They will also be invited to present or publish their findings in English, as a poster or abstract, during WSAVA World Congress.

Dr Mary Marcondes, Chair of the WSAVA’s Vaccination Committee (formerly Vaccination Guidelines Group), said: “The WSAVA Michael J. Day Scholarship is important as it affords the selected Scholar with the opportunity to hone their research skills, while pursuing a topic of interest relating to immunology, vaccinology or infectious diseases. Its significance, however, extends beyond aiding students as the research conducted by the Scholars benefits the whole global veterinary community. We thank MSD Animal Health, the long-term committed Partner of the WSAVA Vaccination Committee, for continuing to support this Scholarship in honor of our greatly missed friend and colleague, Michael.”

“MSD Animal Health recognizes the importance of enabling veterinary students to undertake research projects. Not only is it a valuable educational experience but it adds to our body of knowledge in small animal infectious disease, clinical vaccinology and immunology,” said David Sutton, global technical director, Companion Animal Vaccines. “That is why we’re proud to support this Scholarship, which was developed in memory of Professor Michael J Day, a leader known for his commitment to both education and research in this field.”

The WSAVA Vaccination Committee is a team of experts from around the world focused on providing evidence-based scientific advice to the global veterinary profession on optimum vaccination practice for dogs and cats.       

MSD Animal Health has been the Sole Partner of the WSAVA Vaccination Committee since its inception in 2006 and has recently become a Diamond Partner of the WSAVA.