NC State College of Veterinary Medicine Ph.D. student Amy Stieler Stewart is the winner of the 2019 Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Graduate Award for her innovative research using stem cells to treat intestinal injury.
Stewart received the honor during last weekend’s National Veterinary Scholars Symposium co-sponsored Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company specializing in human and animal health.
At the CVM, Stewart studies the power of stem cells to help repair intestinal ischemia, damage caused by decreased blood flow. She is a member of the Intestinal Regenerative Medicine lab led by Liara Gonzalez, assistant professor of gastroenterology and equine surgery.
As part of her research, Stewart developed intestinal enteroids, a 3D replication of the innermost layer of a horse’s intestine derived from stem cells.
The enteroids, dubbed “mini guts,” provide a better understanding of the mechanisms behind tissue damage seen in a range of gastrointestinal diseases. Such research is key in developing more effective therapies for intestinal disorders in both animals and people.
“The research conducted in our laboratory has the potential to impact the way we both understand and treat intestinal diseases,” said Stewart. “I look forward to my future as a veterinary clinician-scientist and am thankful to Boehringer Ingelheim for their support and recognition.”
The award includes a $2,500 honorarium and is open to graduate veterinarians specializing in pathology, surgery, radiology or laboratory medicine who will soon complete or have recently completed a Ph.D.
Stewart is set to earn her Ph.D. in cell biology this summer as part of the CVM’s Comparative Medicine and Translational Research Program run by Sam Jones, professor of equine medicine. At the end of the month, she will join the CVM faculty as an assistant research professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences.
In December, Stewart received a fellowship from the American Association of Equine Practitioners in recognition of her equine colic research.