Michael Peace, a third year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student in North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is the recipient of a $27,000 scholarship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to support his participation in an innovative, year-long research training program with the National Institutes of Health.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute-National Institutes of Health (HHMI-NIH) Research Scholars Program provides “outstanding students at U.S. medical schools” the opportunity to receive research training under the mentorship of senior NIH research scientists. Peace is one of 42 scholarship recipients—and the only veterinary medicine student— selected from 207 applicants nationwide.
Scholars will live together at the Cloister, a residential community on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Peace will spend the first two months of the 12-month program interviewing with investigators and exploring opportunities with different labs prior to deciding which one of the more than 2,500 NIH projects encompassing cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, structural biology, and epidemiology is of interest and aligned with his career goals. He will then conduct basic, translational, or applied biomedical research under the direction of a senior NIH scientist before giving a formal presentation on his research activity.
In addition to focused lab activity, the program offers scholars the opportunity to attend lectures by international scientists on a daily basis and participate in conferences and a “research-in-progress” symposia series on NIH investigation in various fields.
“I do have an interest in physiology and may wish to continue investigating that area at NIH,” says Peace, who has been working in Dr. Adam Moeser’s lab in the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research. A focus of the lab is “One Health” research that uses swine as a model to study intestinal health, disease mechanisms, and associated stress-related gastrointestinal disorders.
As part of the Merck-Merial Summer Research Program last year, Peace developed a paper and presentation to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians on swine health titled “The Benefits of Dietary Spray Dried Plasma Protein on Post-Weaning Gastrointestinal Health in Pigs.” The presentation earned Peace a $2,500 scholarship and he says the experience lead him to apply for the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program.
“I started vet school wanting to be a swine vet and my research has involved the swine model,” says Peace. “So while I’m working with swine, my career is taking more of a research path than I originally had envisioned. I’m interested in a career that would allow me to combine research, teaching, and clinical work, but I’m also open to corporate opportunities in the swine industry."
Peace is a 2007 graduate of the animal science program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He was a member of NC State Marching Band for five years, including his first year as a DVM student in the College of Veterinary Medicine. He served as the Drum Major in his last three years in the marching band, played in the Pep Band throughout his undergraduate career, and was a University Ambassador.
Peace became interested in veterinary medicine after attending a summer workshop at the NC State CVM as a sixth grader.
R. Michael Peace studied intestinal health, disease mechanisms, and stress-related gastrointestinal disorders using swine as a model in a "One Health" biomedical investigation as part of Dr. Adam Moeser’s laboratory in the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research.
Re-posted May 5, 2010