Program Structure

The University of Missouri CMP combines graduate course work, residency training in laboratory animal medicine and research training.

In the first year, trainees perform rotations in veterinary care and investigator support; resource management; quarantine and health monitoring; investigator training; protocol review; resource center administration, operation, and management; infectious disease research management; and laboratory animal diagnostics. To gain experience in areas such as primate medicine or industry lab animal medicine, trainees may also perform a 4 week elective rotation during their first year. 

In the second year of the program, trainees rotate through one to three research laboratories, select a lab for their degree program (MS or PhD), and begin research training. The bulk of their time is spent on their research. Each week, approximately 10-15 hours will be committed on top of research to activities designed to hone skills applicable to trainees’ specific career goals. Trainees who pursue a PhD spend 100% of their fourth and fifth years in the laboratory.

Rounds and Seminars

Trainees take part in clinical and pathology rounds throughout their residency. Opportunities exist for trainees to participate in AFIP and cytology rounds at the veterinary school as well as to attend other educational seminars on campus, according to interest and as directed by their research mentor. Attending and presenting Comparative Medicine Seminars is ongoing throughout the fellowship experience.


A resident updates faculty and trainees on her research progress.

Training Reviews

Training reviews are opportunities to meet with the CMP Director and Faculty. Reviews are held biannually and supplement less formal meetings following the completion of each rotation. Residents should come prepared to discuss their progress, goals, and research interests as well as provide feedback on their training experience.

Molecular and Rodent Reproductive Cryobiology Resources Rotation:

The aim is to provide didactic and hands-on experience in the basic principles of molecular and cryobiology techniques which are routinely used in research and colony management. An overview of the Swine and Rodent Resource Centers will also be provided. The trainee will learn the basics of colony care and management, participate in reproductive services activities including sperm and embryo collection and cryopreservation, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer procedures, learn genotyping techniques, and participate in strain reviews for the Mutant Mouse Regional Resource center.

Diagnostic Rotation

The aim is to provide an overview of pathology and diagnostic laboratory activities. Trainees will perform animal necropsy, parasitology, sectioning of tissues and biopsies for histopathologic examination, and interpretation of results from IDEXX BioResearch microbiology, serology and molecular biology laboratories. Trainees will prepare reports and consult with submitting veterinarians, scientists or facility managers. Trainees are exposed to a broad range of cases from many species of animals ranging from genetically engineered rodents and transgenic swine to amphibians and reptiles.

ACUC/ACQA Rotation

The aim is for trainees to develop a working knowledge of animal care and use compliance programs; including protocol review, facility inspections, assisting with investigations of issues of non-compliance and preparing reports to OLAW, AAALAC, or other oversight agencies, development of classroom or online training programs, and providing regular review and editing of ACUC Policies and Guidelines.

Vet Care Rotations

There are three vet care rotations with assigned duties according to campus facilities. The aim is for trainees to provide veterinary care for university facilities and the species housed within, coordinate adoption of research animals, provide investigator support, review sentinel reports for facilities and assist with room order and health status determination, health status changes, and disease containment/eradication plans if necessary.

Teaching Rotation

Teaching experience is an important component of CMP training. To this end, all trainees participate in teaching Laboratory Animal Medicine, a course provided to all second year veterinary students at MU. Trainees also teach investigators handling and surgical techniques through workshops and courses and provide mentorship to veterinary students performing externships and elective rotations.

018pigResident guides extern in performing an ophthalmic exam on a pig.

Extern/Elective/Pre-Vet Scholar's Programs Comparative Medicine Rotation

Trainees are expected to supervise and aid in the coordination of student’s day-to-day activities including routine health procedures, clinical evaluations, diagnosis and treatment of animals, attendance of seminars, lab meetings, animal handling laboratories and rounds. Trainees also expose students to various facets of lab animal medicine including comparative medicine research, clinical and administrative laboratory animal medicine and comparative and diagnostic laboratory animal pathology.

Laboratory for Infectious Disease Research (LIDR) Rotation

The aim is to develop a working knowledge of the operations of an ABSL-3 facility and animal care and use (ABSL3) program. Trainees participate in weekly LIDR-ABSL operations meetings, animal model development, serve as a reviewer on the Institutional Biosafety Committee as well as participate on the animal aerosol delivery team.

Management Rotation

The aim is to develop a working knowledge of the facilities and operations of an animal care and use program by learning about different approaches to barrier, conventional and containment animal care, problem solving operational, facility, equipment and personnel resource issues, serving as an OAR facilities representative to the ACUC and participating in facility planning, equipment planning, facility grant proposals, budgeting and per diem setting problem solving.

Optional Rotations

There are several optional rotations which are driven by the interests of the trainee, with approval from the program Director. They may be one month in duration.

Additional Opportunites

Developing presentation skills and networking with the scientific community are key components of the CMP. To this end, trainees are encouraged to attend scientific meetings and funding is provided for 1-2 meetings/year beginning in the second year of the program.  Trainees are expected to present at each meeting they attend and apply for available travel grants.  Generally, trainees attend the annual AALAS meeting during their second year and a scientific meeting related to their research during their third year and beyond.

Trainees are given a variety of opportunities to develop writing skills. Assignments include SOPs, policy statements, pathology reports, animal facility inspection reports, laboratory findings, intra- and extramural grant proposals, and research papers for publication in refereed journals. Preparation of a publishable paper (MS and PhD) and an extramural grant proposal (PhD) are requirements of the program. Many trainees generate data and/or case material for several publications.