Meet our Student Contest Winners!

ACC&D’s contest for graduate students to win an all-expenses-paid trip our Symposium generated many strong applications. Thanks to all who entered and to the Kevin L. Brown Memorial Scholarship for making this contest possible. 

Three veterinary students stood out and won complimentary registration, travel and lodging when they join us in Boston.  These students are all at or near crossroads in their career, with a passion for this field. We are thrilled to announce the three winners of our Student Contest: Julie Barnes from the US, Valerio Moccia from Italy, and Liat Morgan from Israel. Their bios are below.

Student winners
Student contest winners (L-R: Valerio Moccia, Dr. Julie Barnes, Liat Morgan) at the Symposium banquet dinner with contest sponsor Dr. Amy Fischer

BarnesJulie Barnes is a 2018 veterinarian graduate from the University of Tennessee. She first became interested in reproduction after graduation from college when she spent a year as an intern at the Memphis Zoo Research Department. Over the year, she enthusiastically observed the veterinary work and reproduction research behind zoo breeding and contraception. As a result of this experience, she decided to apply to and accept a position at Tennessee’s veterinary school to pursue her goal of studying reproduction in the veterinary field. During her freshman and sophomore year summers, she participated in research programs at UC Davis and Cornell, respectively. At UC Davis, she studied reproductive side effects from a sedation medication on stallions and while at Cornell, she researched equine mammary stem cell secretion components for treatment of mammary cancer. Now finished with vet school, Dr. Barnes plans on staying involved in reproduction research and intends to one day go back for a PhD. In the meantime, she plans on utilizing her medical knowledge in general practice and spending time with her two pups.
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Valerio Moccia is a 2018 DVM graduate from the University of Bari “Aldo Moro” College of Veterinary Medicine. During his academic career, he held a particular interest in the physiology of animal reproduction. This inspired him to pursue an internship in the section of Veterinary Clinics and Animal Production. In his final year of study, 2017/2018 had a scholarship to conduct research at Oregon State University and investigate the increased incidence of mast cell tumors in gonadectomized dogs. Present research interests include investigating alternative methods of contraception and methods of reducing the risks posed by surgical gonadectomy to improve animal welfare and control pet overpopulation. Dr. Moccia has a poster at the Symposium. 

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Liat Morgan is a student in the combined DVM-PhD program at the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, Hebrew University, Israel. Her thesis focused on improving fertility and production in swine farms by management actions towards better animal welfare. One of the projects focused on non-surgical contraception as an alternative to surgical castration in piglets. The results have led to the development of pig welfare legislation in Israel.

Liat is also involved in another project at the lab - controlling the free-roaming cat population with an anti-GnRH vaccine (Gonacon), in which she is responsible for the size and welfare population estimationLiat is the founder and general manager of, the Israeli animal adoption database, and the only search engine which includes adoptable pets from all organizations and public shelters in Israel. She has utilized that database to survey over 3000 cat and 3000 dog owners about their attitudes, including perceptions of both surgical and non-surgical methods of sterilization. She has also surveyed veterinarians.

Recently, she embarked on a new research project, which aims to build a broad plan for the Israeli government; how to control dog overpopulation, as well as to improve animal welfare and NO KILL policy. Liat will be sharing her survey learnings at the Symposium.


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