Laboratory Animal Medicine Residency Training Program
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Laboratory Animal Medicine (LAM) Training Program is tailored for veterinarians who wish to obtain the clinical and research training needed to pursue a career as a laboratory animal veterinarian. UNC has been training Laboratory Animal Veterinarians since 1982. Our Training Program has been a recognized training program by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) since 1997 when ACLAM first required programs to be officially recognized to allow trainees to qualify for the ACLAM certifying exam. The LAM Training Program is designed for trainees who complete the 3-year program to become ACLAM board-eligible. Performance in the ACLAM board examination has been excellent.
UNC was chartered in 1789 and has been dedicated to programs of excellence in undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, basic and applied research, and community service. UNC is ranked fifth among leading private and public research universities for federal funding devoted to research and development with over $1 billion reached in annual research expenditure. Thus, animal-related research and teaching programs are important to the mission of UNC and animal care and use activities. The animal care and use program is centrally managed by the Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM). The DCM employs more than 190 individuals, including 11 ACLAM- or ACVP-boarded faculty veterinarians several which also have a PhD pursuing basic and translational research, 3-4 residents in Laboratory Animal Medicine, 3 residents in Comparative Pathology Program, 10 veterinary technicians, and 2 enrichment technicians. Notable animal research support services housed at UNC include a Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Center (MMRRC), transgenic or gene-targeted Animal Models Core, National Gnotobiotic Rodent Resource Center, Systems Genetics Core providing Collaborative Cross mice, Behavioral Phenotyping Core, rodent and large animal surgical cores, Biomedical Research Imaging Center (BRIC), Zebrafish Aquaculture Core Facility, Pathology Services Core, and Institute of Marine Science to name a few.
The LAM Training Program provides an in-depth experience in all aspects of clinical laboratory animal medicine (LAM). Trainees spend 60-70% of their time on clinical rotations, which are mentored by DCM faculty. The trainee’s clinical experience is about 40% USDA-covered species (primarily pigs, dogs, non-human primates, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, and gerbils) and 60% other species (primarily mice, rats, aquatics, and other non-traditional exotic species). Trainees rotate every 3-4 months to provide extensive clinical experience in rodent, aquatic, and USDA covered species with specific emphasis on management of large rodent colonies, USDA covered species colony management, large animal surgical models, and exotic (non-mammalian) species medicine. Diagnostic facilities include on-site hematology and clinical chemistry, whole body and dental radiology, and ultrasound with access to advanced imaging facilities (e.g., BRIC). Trainees work closely with the Pathology faculty and Comparative Pathology Program Residents as part of the Joint Comparative Medicine Training Program between UNC and NC State University (NCSU). On-call duty is shared between trainees and clinical LAM faculty. Trainees are involved in Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol and amendment review continually throughout residency. Trainees participate in routine teaching opportunities such as actively engage student externs, interns, and provide additional support for the DCM Training Program’s Hands-On Classes.
UNC Chapel Hill’s LAM Residency Training Program participates in the Research Triangle Laboratory Animal Training Program (RTLATP), which provides didactic training in core material for 4 hours per week. The RTLATP is a regional didactic program involving the LAM residency programs at UNC, Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Lectures are given by a combination of current trainees, RTLATP faculty, and invited speakers with expertise in particular areas from across the state of North Carolina and beyond. Required subject matter, based on the ACLAM Role Delineation document, rotates on a two-year cycle, and includes seminars covering LAM topics, journal club, and discussion of regulations that govern animal research. Trainees also participate and attend Comparative Medicine Rounds (monthly) and Comparative Pathology Conference (monthly). In addition, trainees may take courses in statistics and the Responsible Conduct of Research, as well as other courses depending on the trainee’s interests. Other opportunities for training include the following: clinical rounds and staff meetings, non-LAM clinical and research seminars held at the institution, including resident seminars and other Continuing Education courses offered, weekly slide set review at NIEHS (review of various training modules available through ACLAM and CL Davis), seminars and courses offered by the North Carolina Academy of Laboratory Animal Medicine (NCALAM), NIEHS courses, such as Rodent Pathology, the North Carolina Workshop in Laboratory Animal Medicine (formerly the CL Davis course) at the NCSU-Collège of Veterinary Medicine, courses offered by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and training classes offered at national meetings (AALAS, AVMA and ACLAM).
Residents are required to spend at least 25% effort in independent and/or collaborative research. Trainees are expected to conduct a hypothesis-driven research project under the mentorship of a DCM faculty member, with the goal of having at least one research article accepted in a peer-reviewed journal in time to achieve ACLAM boards eligibility during the third year of the residency program. Trainees carry out all aspects of the project, including experimental design, IACUC protocol submission, data collection and analysis, and manuscript writing and revision. Trainees typically have a 4 month-long research rotation during the second year of the program to allow them to focus on completing their research project and often present their work at local and national AALAS meetings.
Candidates must have a DVM or equivalent degree and be a citizen or noncitizen resident of the United States, have graduated from an AVMA-accredited institution or successful completion of ECFVG certification program, and passed the NAVLE.
Trainees interested in the LAM Training Program should apply through the Veterinary Internship & Residency Matching Program (VIRMP). For more information, please contact the Director of the Training Program, Dr. Morika Williams, at firstname.lastname@example.org.