The aim of the fellowships supported by AMP is to foster young voices to speak in support of science and advancing medical knowledge through responsible animal research. The programs created are designed to continue to influence research advocates, even after the Fellows complete their terms.
2020-2021 Fellowship Programs
ACNP/AMP BRAD Fellowship
Laura Erwin, Ph.D., a post-doctoral research fellow in the Preclinical Pharmacology Program at McLean Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School, has been awarded the ACNP-AMP BRAD Fellowship.
Dr. Erwin received her Ph.D. at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in April 2019. Her thesis focused on the interactive effects of cannabinoids and opioids, utilizing complex behavioral assays. She joined the Preclinical Pharmacology Program under Dr. Carol Paronis in June 2019. Dr. Erwin’s research focuses on elucidating the pharmacological mechanisms and neurobiology that mediate the behavioral effects of drug abuse. She is currently studying the potential hallucinogenic-like effects of highly potent synthetic cannabinoids. Dr. Erwin recently received the Livingston Fellowship which will allow her to investigate the effects of cannabinoid agonists that vary in affinity and efficacy to induce neurological disruption using noninvasive electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings.
About the fellowship: The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) has partnered with Americans for Medical Progress (AMP) to offer the ACNP/AMP BRAD Fellowship. Biomedical Research Awareness Day (BRAD) was created through the Michael D. Hayre Fellowship in Public Outreach program, established by Americans for Medical Progress, to promote peer education about animal research. The ACNP/AMP Fellowship offers the opportunity to raise awareness about the essential role of animals in clinical and basic research for brain-behavior-drug interactions, advancements in psychopharmacology, and careers in the field.
2019 – 2020 Fellowship Programs
Jeff Marshall is a second-year veterinary student at Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Following his completion of a dual MS/BS degree in 2009 from the University of Nevada, Reno, Jeff has been involved in the field of comparative medicine in a variety of capacities. These experiences have included high-containment laboratory work as a research associate. Jeff has earned his certification as a Biological Safety Professional through the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA). He is also a research compliance coordinator who oversees both Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees and Institutional Biosafety Committees. Once he completes his veterinary school training, Jeff intends to become a laboratory animal veterinarian where he will continue to be an outspoken advocate for biomedical research and the animals that take part in it.
2019 - 2020 Fellowship Project. Jeff’s project is the creation and launch of a podcast series which will feature discussions with professionals within the field of comparative medicine. These conversations will focus on the importance and applicability of animal research to both veterinary and human medicine. The podcasts will cover a wide variety of topics, from a basic introduction to animal research, to discussions with veterinarians, scientists and representatives from prominent organizations committed to ensuring and promoting responsible animal studies. Over the course of the fellowship year, a total of five episodes will be recorded, edited and published online for listeners worldwide. With the increasing popularity of podcasts, this project aims to reach a growing and diverse audience to provide them with interesting and entertaining conversations and facts surrounding the field of responsible and ethical research involving the use of animals.
ACNP/AMP BRAD Fellowship
The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) has partnered with Americans for Medical Progress (AMP) to offer the ACNP/AMP BRAD Fellowship. Biomedical Research Awareness Day (BRAD) was created through the Michael D. Hayre Fellowship in Public Outreach program, established by Americans for Medical Progress, to promote peer education about animal research. The ACNP/AMP Fellowship offers the opportunity to raise awareness about the essential role of animals in clinical and basic research for brain-behavior-drug interactions, advancements in psychopharmacology, and careers in the field.
Katherine M. Serafine, Ph.D., an assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Texas at El Paso has been awarded the 2019 - 2020 ACNP-AMP BRAD Fellowship. Dr. Serafine attended Norwich University as an undergraduate. There, she conducted research and served as a teaching assistant for a course focused on the principles of learning. The experience sparked her interest in both experimental science and classroom teaching. She then earned her Ph.D. in behavior, cognition and neuroscience at American University in Washington, D.C. Her training continued at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, in her hometown, as a postdoctoral fellow in behavioral pharmacology. In Dr. Serafine’s current role as a faculty member at the University of Texas at El Paso, she works with students to study complex human diseases, like obesity, type 2 diabetes and substance use disorders by studying animal models.
2018 – 2019 Fellowship Programs
ACNP/AMP BRAD Fellowship
Stephanie Maddox is the 2018-2019 ACNP/AMP BRAD Fellow. Stephanie is a research fellow in the Neurobiology of Fear Laboratory at McLean Hospital, and the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is currently working under the mentorship of Kerry J. Ressler, M.D. Ph.D. Stephanie earned her Ph.D. in psychology with an emphasis in behavioral neuroscience from Yale University in 2013. Her research is founded on her expertise in animal behavioral models and aims to identify the neuroanatomical and neurobiological mechanisms that underlie stress, trauma and mood-related disorders. Outside of the lab, Stephanie is passionate about public science advocacy and education. She helped establish and currently directs McLean Hospital’s “Brains Matter” program, a science education and outreach program focused on neuroscience research.
Methodology & Rationale of Animal Research: Public & High School Education in the Behavioral Sciences through Outreach
University of Wisconsin-Madison seniors Brooke Meidam and Erin Schoenbeck have both been named this year’s winners of the AMP/Michael D. Hayre Fellowship in Public Outreach. The program is designed to provide talented university students and early career professionals with opportunities to design and implement public outreach programs focused on the important role of animal-based health research in improving the lives of people and animals.
The two UW students will receive funding from Americans for Medical Progress (AMP) to design and launch an educational program for high school students. The educational module that Erin and Brooke are creating will help students learn about the role of animal studies in increasing our understanding of behavior, cognition, and spatial navigation in nonhuman animals. The project will include miniature models of mazes and other behavioral measurement systems commonly used in a wide-range of animal studies. Those portable research tools will travel, along with Erin and Brooke, to high schools throughout Wisconsin. The goal: To educate students about why—and how—animal research is conducted and to allow them to ask important questions about the humane and ethical use of animals in health studies.
2017 – 2018 Fellowship Programs
Biomedical Research Awareness Day (BRAD)
Vittoria Capria, a second year veterinary student at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where she serves as president of the ASLAP student chapter. She received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Virginia in 2014 and a M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University in 2015. She is pursuing a career in laboratory animal medicine.
Vittoria will coordinate our Biomedical Research Awareness Day (BRAD) celebration scheduled for April 19, 2018. She will build on the success of the past two BRADs, expanding the program far beyond the 60 colleges, research institutions, and others that are already participants. Visit our website to join the 2018 BRAD celebration.
Watering the Grassroots
Anita Richert is a comparative medicine resident at Texas A&M, where she is also studying for a Masters degree in Pathobiology. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in May 2015 from Purdue University. Dr. Richert is a passionate advocate for sharing the truth about biomedical research.
“Watering the Grassroots” is the name of Anita’s Hayre Fellowship program. She will create presentations and handouts to train young professionals in the life sciences how to effectively communicate with policymakers on issues that affect biomedical research. She will also present guidance on engaging with friends and family members to grow momentum for grassroots efforts.
Connect - Public education about comparative psychology and behavioral research with animals.
Madilyn Williams is a senior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, studying for a degree in Wildlife Ecology with certificates in Education Services and Environmental Studies. She has worked with fellow students to hold events about comparative psychology and primate research at schools and science festivals. She looks forward to a career in conservation and animal welfare education.
For her Hayre Fellowship, Madilyn will develop educational modules for schools, zoos and science venues that are focused on behavioral and psychologic research involving animals. The programs will be shared with undergraduates in ‘train the trainer’ settings and then will be piloted at five zoos in Wisconsin.
2016-2017 Fellowship Programs
Biomedical Research Awareness Day Expansion
For the next BRAD celebration, scheduled for Wednesday, April 19, 2017, our three new Hayre Fellows will seek to expand the program to ALL American veterinary schools, as well as AVMA-accredited international veterinary schools and select medical schools and universities offering laboratory animal medicine programs. They will also enhance the related social media campaign to draw even more attention to BRAD and its messages, and create and implement a plan to ensure BRAD’s continuation in future years.
Jaclyn Steinbach will lead the Fellows’ efforts. She is entering her final year as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the NYU Langone Medical Center, New York University, and Regeneron. She graduated with honors from the Royal Veterinary College in 2014 and is a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. She has been involved in biomedical research for 10 years, working both in research and veterinary environments.
Nicole Emmitt is a second year veterinary student at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and is vice president of the Research Animal Medicine Club there. She received her Bachelor of Science at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in 2010 and her Master’s in Clinical Embryology and Andrology from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2015.
Rebecca Aust graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Central Florida in 2013. She is a member of the Class of 2019 at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. She is president of the LSU student chapter of ASLAP – the American
Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners.
2015-2016 Fellowship Programs
Biomedical Research Awareness Day
The first national Biomedical Research Awareness Day (BRAD) was celebrated on April 19, 2016. Twenty American veterinary schools joined to raise awareness about the role of animals in biomedical research and to highlight careers in laboratory animal medicine. Many schools also engaged their local community by combining the event with their school’s Open House.
The celebrations involved undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary students, faculty, staff, and the public.
Social media played a large role in the initiative. Students from the participating schools posted on the BRAD Facebook page prior to the event, sharing news of their organization, previous activities their club had hosted or participated in, and their plans for BRAD. Throughout the day on April 19, veterinary students around the country posted photos of their BRAD celebration on Facebook and conveyed their support of biomedical research. BRAD encourages students and faculty to band together with a common goal and use their resources to raise awareness.
Logan France received her DVM from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences in 2015. She is pursuing a career in laboratory animal medicine and is currently in a clinical residency at Johns Hopkins University. She focused her Hayre Fellowship to help build, through BRAD and other means, an online communications network among veterinary students and faculty to share resources, facilitate collaborations, and to connect veterinary students interested in careers in laboratory animal medicine.
Broader Impacts: Public Outreach and Engagement about Animal Research
The aim of Broader Impacts is to inspire graduate students in biomedical and psychological research to become strong public advocates for science. A one-credit seminar was developed to teach about animal research, ethics, public views, and the importance of scientists contributing to public education and dialogue. The course supports the development of outreach skills about the vital and humane nature of animal research and the role every student can play in building public understanding of research. A pilot of the seminar was taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Spring 2016 semester. Course materials are available here. All research universities are encouraged to adopt the course.
Audrey Buelo graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. She went on to pursue her Ph.D. in public health at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
“I believe that teaching graduate students the importance of outreach while they’re still in a school setting is critical to inspiring them to be lifelong advocates. Currently there are no systematic programs that train graduate students how to engage effectively with the public on the topic of animal research – nor are they taught the importance of outreach and education.”
2013-2014 / 2014-2015
The Veterinary Impact!
The Veterinary Impact! was created in 2013 by Hayre Fellow and veterinary student Chris Thomson. The program highlighted opportunities for careers in research animal medicine, and gave those students who chose private practice a new appreciation for the development of the treatments that they will use to care for animals throughout their professional lives.
Traveling to veterinary schools across the country, Chris offered a seminar focused on how animal-based research affects the veterinary profession and why veterinarians need to stay at the forefront of the conversation. The workshop encouraged students to speak freely and openly about the use of animals in biomedical research with both the public and social media. The Veterinary Impact! project also featured a robust website about laboratory animal medicine and a series of posters.
The following year, Camille Maloney, a candidate in a dual DVM/PhD program, continued The Veterinary Impact!, expanding it to medical students and others in the life sciences. She brought to it a focus on the “One Health” movement – the integrative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals, and the environment.
Chris Thomson, AMP’s 2013-2014 Hayre Fellow, was a third year veterinary student at University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine during his fellowship. Chris emphasized student-to-student outreach at veterinary schools and conferences throughout America. Through campus presentations, workshops and media initiatives via veterinary education programs, Chris built and maintained informed understanding and acceptance of the importance of animals to biomedical research. Chris earned his veterinary degree in 2015.
Camille McAloney, AMP’s 2014-2015 Hayre Fellow, was pursuing a dual DVM and PhD program at the University of Minnesota during her fellowship. She continued The Veterinary Impact! series created the previous year by Chris Thomson. Camille addressed graduate and undergraduate life science students, as well as those studying veterinary medicine, at universities across the United States. Her focus was on the necessity of animal-based research and the foundation of the “One Health” movement. She also supported AMP’s outreach at the 2015 AVMA annual meeting.
Social Media Advocacy
Recognizing that social media had evolved into a powerful force for advocacy with immense potential to influence young audiences, AMP in 2012 awarded a Hayre Fellowship to assist us in creating a vibrant presence on our social media channels, the basis of which still help guide our outreach and advocacy initiatives today.
Gene Rukavina is a highly visible member of the biomedical research community with expertise in training and social media methodologies. Gene’s Hayre Fellowship project focused on developing a strong online community in support of animal-based research offering targeted information and resources via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. During his fellowship, Gene was the Training Coordinator for the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine at UCLA and served on the Board of Trustees of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) and was the Board’s representative to the AALAS Global Partners Advisory Council.
SHARE: Speaking Honestly – Animal Research Education
SHARE is a program jointly designed by Hayre Fellows Elizabeth Burnett and Scott Dobrin to facilitate classroom discussions about animals in research in an engaging and interactive manner. Teachers are provided with the necessary tools to discuss the topic using modern instructional approaches. This includes a lesson plan to facilitate an established classroom activity, video tutorials, data illustrating the efficacy of the method and additional supporting information.
Importantly, rather than championing a specific viewpoint, students are allowed to develop their own opinions based on factual information regarding both animal rights and animal welfare points of view. All materials are available on the SHARE website (www.sharehappens.org).
Elizabeth Burnett was a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Program at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina during her fellowship. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Arizona State University in 2001. She conducted behavioral research at the Southwest National Primate Research Center/Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, Texas for five years before entering the Program in Neuroscience in 2006. As a result of her experiences as a researcher both at Southwest and at Wake Forest, Liz became an avid communicator about the importance of animal research to medical progress and developed extensive knowledge of animal rights and welfare issues. She earned her Ph.D. at Wake Forest in 2012.
Scott Dobrin was a doctoral candidate in the Neuroscience Program at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston Salem, North Carolina during his fellowship. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Zoology in 2003 from the University of Florida and his Masters of Science in Zoology from North Carolina State University in 2006. Scott’s dissertation research focused on the effects of experience on brain structure by studying honey bees in their natural environment. He has presented his research and outreach activities at numerous regional and national meetings, including the Society for Neuroscience. He received his Ph.D. at Wake Forest in 2011.
Thank A Mouse
The Thank A Mouse program encouraged private practice veterinarians to become ambassadors to lead their clients into greater understanding of the role of animal research in veterinary medicine. A website offered accurate information about the importance of animal research to animal health, and the opportunity to express gratitude to the laboratory animals involved. Research articles and news stories kept people informed about the latest veterinary advances made possible by animal research. Thank A Mouse also provided educational materials for veterinarians, their staff, and their clients.
Gillian Braden-Weiss was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine during her fellowship. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences from the University of Maryland in 2006 and her Masters of Laboratory Animal Science from Drexel University College of Medicine in 2008. She served as a research assistant in the Department of Pathobiology and at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior at Penn. Gillian has extensive experience in animal welfare, gained from her work as a veterinary associate at an emergency veterinary clinic in Baltimore, her externship at Penn Vet’s Laboratory Animal Resources Department, and her time working in laboratory animal departments at Drexel University, the University of Maryland, Rutgers University, Wyeth, and Merck. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Penn in 2012.
Breanna Caltagarone was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine during her fellowship. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 2006 and her Masters of Laboratory Animal Science from Drexel University in 2008. She served as an NIH – Merck/Merial Veterinary Research Scholar and as Vice President of the Laboratory Animal Medicine Club at Penn Vet. Breanna worked in animal and veterinary care as a colony assistant in the Department of Medical Genetics at Penn, as an extern at Thomas Jefferson University. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Penn.
Pro-Test for Science
Pro-Test for Science brought together scientists, researchers, academics, students and members of the public to stand in support of the critical role of humane and well-regulated animal research in medical advances of the past, present and future.
Through the use of its website, speaking engagements and outreach events, Pro-Test for Science worked to dispel myths and falsehoods propagated by animal rights groups regarding the true nature of animal research; provide an academic forum in which
civilized discussion surrounding the animal research issue could take place; and combat fear and support victims of violence, harassment and threats used by animal rights extremists to coerce researchers and institutions carrying out medical research with animals.
Megan Wyeth, one of AMP’s 2009-2010 Hayre Fellows was a doctoral candidate in the Department of Neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) during her fellowship. Megan helped create Pro-Test for Science and served as a student organizer for the UCLA Pro-Test rally. At that event, 800 students and faculty came together to speak up in support of research scientists and against animal rights extremism. Megan earned her B.S. in Neurobiology with College Honors in 2002 from the University of Washington. Her research focuses on functional changes in mice with spontaneous seizures and is designed to shed light on epilepsy. She has presented her research at meetings of the American Epilepsy Society and the Society for Neuroscience. She earned her Ph.D. from UCLA in 2011.
2008 – 2009
Speaking of Research Launch
Speaking of Research is an international advocacy group that provides accurate information about the importance of animal research in medical and veterinary science. The organization was initiated in 2008 by Tom Holder during his time with AMP as its first Hayre Fellow.
Speaking of Research members engage in talks, debates and presentations across the U.S., U.K., and beyond. The Speaking of Research website provides information and resources about the importance of animal research, as well as the latest news about animal rights extremism. Speaking of Research aims to change the focus of the animal rights debate by encouraging students and scientist to speak out in favor of the lifesaving research developed with animals.
Tom Holder served as AMP’s inaugural Hayre Fellow in 2008, touring campuses and biomedical research facilities throughout the US. Tom’s compelling story captivated audiences and motivated others to speak out about research. Tom graduated from Oxford University in 2007, with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. His time at Oxford coincided with an escalation of violence and intimidation by animal rights extremists. Frustrated by the climate of fear descending on Oxford, he became instrumental in the formation of Pro-Test, which stood up to animal rights extremists in the UK. In 2008 he moved to the US where he founded Speaking of Research, as well as helping to organize the UCLA Pro-Test rally. Now based in the UK, Tom continues to be an active advocate for biomedical research in both the UK and US. In 2012 he left teaching to join Understanding Animal Research, a UK advocacy organization.