MS and PhD Students

The College of Veterinary Medicine offers rigorous PhD and Master’s degree programs

The college’s graduate programs are based on the principle that advancing animal and human health stems from the same scientific foundation. We provide state-of-the-art PhD and MS training to promote animal, human, and ecosystem health.  Our basic and translational research programs address a broad range of problems affecting production animals, humans, companion animals, and wildlife.  Emphasis areas include pathogenesis of infectious disease agents, inflammation and immunity, microbial genetics, cancer biology, epidemiology, mammalian genomics, and neurobiology. Students can earn MS and PhD degrees in Veterinary Medicine and in Comparative and Molecular Biosciences. A combined PhD/DVM program is also offered. Students work closely with advisers, program faculty, and peers in a supportive and collaborative environment to foster full development of scientific critical thinking skills and experimental methods.

Students work closely with advisers, program faculty, and peers in a supportive and collaborative environment to foster full development of scientific critical thinking skills and experimental methods.

   time to degree vmed cmb

We are committed to helping students graduate in a timely fashion. Through individualized mentoring, clear timelines, and annual reviews of student progress, the PhD programs at the College of Veterinary Medicine exceed the national averages for life sciences graduate programs.




For more information about PhD and MS degrees, contact Kate Barry at

PhD and MS positions open for Summer/Fall 2016

We invite strong applications for PhD and MS training in all areas of life sciences as applied to animal and human health.  Below are specific projects for which appropriate graduate students are sought.  All applicants must first complete an application and be evaluated by the Program Advisory Committee.

Click here to start your application

Areas of InvestigationAdviser(s)Program
Epidemiology and molecular characterization of Streptococcus suis in swine populations using whole genome sequencing. PhD trainee preferred.Connie Gebhart and Doug MarthalerCMB or VMED
Occupational health and safety program development for production animal agriculture. DVM preferred.Jeff BenderVMED
Quantitative epidemiology of zoonotic bacterial pathogens in the human-animal interface using Salmonella enterica and Coxiella burnetii models. MS trainee preferred.Julio AlvarezVMED
Risk assessment for transmission of swine viruses in feed. Strong mathematical skills required.Fernando SampedroVMED
Immunobiology of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in transplantation, including development of cell-based and small molecule interventions.Bruce BlazarCMB
Scaling and non-linear analysis of foodborne infections related to infrastructure, landscape patterns, and ecohydrological dynamics.Matteo ConvertinoVMED
Applied epidemiology of organic cattle health care, welfare, and production. DVM preferred.Ulrike SorgeCMB or VMED
Discovery of susceptibility genes for primary hyperlipidemia and urinary stone formation in companion animals using molecular analyses.  Background in genetics and/or a DVM preferred.Eva FurrowCMB or VMED


CVM Graduate Program News


Alexandra Draper Wins Distinguished Master's Thesis Award
CVM UMEC Draper     

Alexandra Draper, MS, recent graduate of the VMED program with Dr. Stephanie Valberg, has won the University of Minnesota Distinguished Master's Thesis Award in the Biological/Life Sciences for her thesis titled "Pelvic Limb Movement Disorders in Horses". Her work has also been nominated for the 2016 Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Master's Thesis Award in the Biological/Life Sciences. Alex is currently pursuing a PhD at the Royal Veterinary College, London. Congratulations, Alex!




CVM Graduate Students Win 2015-2016 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships
 Carmen Alonso VMED DDF 2 Jo Varshney VMED DDF 2 Xiong Wang CMB DDF 2
Carmen AlonsoJyotika VarshneyXiong Wang


We are very pleased to announce that three College of Veterinary Medicine graduate students have been awarded Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships for the 2015-2016 academic year. The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship gives the University's most accomplished PhD candidates an opportunity to devote full-time effort to an outstanding research project by providing time to finalize and write a dissertation during the fellowship year.

Carmen Alonso is a PhD student in VMED, advised by Dr. Montserrat Torremorell and Dr. Peter Davies. Carmen's research focuses on the characterization of particle size ranges that are associated with airborne viruses in swine aerosols, to better understand mechanisms of disease transmission within and between farms.

Jyotika Varshney is a PhD student in VMED, advised by Dr. Subbaya Subramanian and Dr. David Largaespada. Jo conducts comparative research on the overexpression of miR-17-92 microRNAs in canine and human osteosarcoma, the most common primary bone malignancy affecting children, adolescents and young adults.

Xiong Wang is a PhD student in CMB, advised by Dr. Michael Murtaugh. Xiong investigates the evolution of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus and selection mechanisms at the cellular and animal levels, in order to provide basic insights into the effects of vaccination and intentional infection on the evolution of viral virulence.

This is truly an honor for the winners and for our graduate programs. Congratulations to these students and
their advisers on this outstanding recognition.


MnDRIVE Global Food Initiative Fellowships Awarded to CVM Graduate Students


Left to Right: Fernando Lopes Leivas Leite, Grant Stoddard, Sylvia Wanzala


Congratulations to PhD students Fernando Lopes Leivas Leite (Richard Isaacson), Grant Stoddard (Gerard Cramer), and Sylvia Wanzala (Srinand Sreevatsan), who have been awarded MnDRIVE Global Food Initiative Fellowships for 2015-2016. This State of Minnesota-University partnership seeks to develop integrated approaches to ensuring a sustainable, safe and resilient global food system from farm to fork. Central to this initiative is workforce building of professionals and leaders in agricultural and food industries.

Fernando's research is in microbiology and immunology, specifically host-pathogen interactions. He is investigating these interactions to understand and discover mechanisms that may allow for the development of improved vaccines and diagnostics.

Grant's research focuses on animal welfare and hoof trimming in the dairy industry. He is investigating the effect, timing and proper technique of hoof trimming for dairy cattle.

Sylvia's research involves the comprehensive tracking of biomarkers for diagnostics and One Health, focusing on zoonotic TB in humans and animals as well as testing the efficacy of a novel diagnostic tool on samples from wildlife, cattle and humans.

Jonathan Clayton Wins Presentation Award


Congratulations to Jonathan Clayton, DVM/PhD dual degree student with Dr. Tim Johnson, who won Outstanding Oral Presentation at the 2015 American Association of Primatologists meeting in Bend, Oregon. Jonathan presented his work on primate gut microbial communities

 Jonathan Clayton CMB
Jonathan Clayton


Eva Furrow
Eva Furrow, PhD


Doug Marthaler 2
Doug Marthaler, PhD


CVM PhD Graduates Win Honorable Mention for University of Minnesota Best Dissertation


Two recent CVM PhD graduates were awarded Honorable Mention in the University of Minnesota 2015 Best Dissertation Awards. Eva Furrow (PhD in CMB with Ned Patterson) was recognized for her thesis titled "Metabolic and Genetic Determinants of Urolithiasis in a Natural Canine Model." Douglas Marthaler (PhD in VMED with Sagar Goyal) was recognized for his thesis, "Ecology of Porcine Rotaviruses".

Both Dr. Furrow and Dr. Marthaler have been hired as CVM faculty. Eva is an Assistant Professor of internal medicine and researches genetic mechanisms of diseases in companion animals, and Doug is an Assistant Professor specializing in molecular diagnostics.






CVM Graduate Student Seminar Series

The CVM Graduate Student Seminars are held in 215 Veterinary Science Building on Thursdays at 12:00 noon.

Click here for the Spring 2016 seminar schedule.




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  • Last modified on January 25, 2016