Didactic Assisted Reproductive Techniques Experiences for Veterinary Students at Lincoln Memorial University

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Published on: November 2, 2020

J Gibbons, P Gibbons, and L Miller

The faculty and staff at Lincoln Memorial University, College of Veterinary Medicine are committed to education and producing Day 1 ready veterinarians competent in all fields. As a distributive model of education, LMU-CVM students receive real-world training opportunities on sheep, goat, and dairy and beef cattle operations in southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee during their program. Reproductive physiology, estrous cycle manipulation, and specialized assisted reproductive techniques, such as artificial insemination, embryo transfer, transrectal ultrasonography and palpation, and transvaginal ultrasound-guided follicular aspiration are part of the Theriogenology Core and Elective courses. Material specific to multiple species is delivered by experts in the field (either by faculty or an adjunct) during lecture experiences, with most of the laboratories focusing on cattle. These laboratories consist of breeding soundness examinations, live cow palpation and ultrasound, palpation of pregnant and not pregnant excised reproductive tracts and ovaries, and either commercially available or in-house developed silicone models. LMU-CVM also offers a variety of wet labs focused on bovine embryo evaluation and handling, mock embryo transfer, and recovery experiences using excised reproductive tracts, as well as an Artificial Insemination Certification course. Advanced opportunities include Food Animal procedures and bovine palpation electives (beef and dairy cattle) and a Large Animal specific rotation at the DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Campus. Research opportunities involve in vivo and in vitro approaches to addressing basic and applied reproductive physiology questions. Examples include increasing the efficacy and effectiveness of assisted reproductive techniques, especially embryo transfer in cattle, short term incubation of bovine embryos, evaluation of the role of zinc in in vitro embryo production, dynamics of the bovine maternal to embryonic genome control transition, computer assisted semen analysis, and online and in person bovine embryo evaluation. Students from LMU-CVM have applied and received competitive travel grants to attend the AETA annual conference in 2017, 2018, and 2019 (2020 conference was virtual) and have been very active in recent Society for Theriogenology in-person and virtual conferences.

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