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North Carolina State University Colic Researcher Named AAEP Foundation Past Presidents’ Research Fellow

Dec 3, 2018

Amy Stieler Stewart, DVM, DACVIM, a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University, received the AAEP Foundation Past Presidents’ Research Fellow for her research efforts into the potential therapeutic benefits of stem cells in cases of colic. 

The award was presented to Dr. Stewart at the AAEP’s 64th Annual Convention in San Francisco, Calif. The $5,000 grant is awarded annually to a doctoral or residency student who has made significant progress in the field of equine health care research. Dr. Stewart also received a $500 stipend to support her travel to San Francisco. 

Colic in the horse has a variety of causes and a wide range of severity; its high mortality rate makes it an important research focus for many. Dr. Stewart’s research focuses on the role of intestinal epithelial stem cells (IESCs) in repairing damaged intestines and is conducted using “mini-guts” in porcine models. The three-dimensional “mini-guts” were developed by Dr. Stewart as a research tool, but she hopes they one day become a therapeutic option to improve patient outcomes in cases of severe colic. 

“Colic remains at the forefront as one of the most important causes of horse mortality and is an area that warrants our continued research efforts,” said Dr. Stewart. “The study of intestinal stem cells offers an exciting target for clinician scientists and aims to develop more effective therapies in the future.”  

Dr. Stewart graduated in the top of her class from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. She has since completed a Large Animal Medicine and Surgery internship at the University of Georgia and a residency at the University of Florida. 

“Research is pivotal to discovering new and improved ways to treat diseases and maladies that threaten the health of horses,” said Dr. Rick Mitchell, AAEP Foundation Advisory Council chairman. “The equine industry needs quality researchers, and this award is one important way we can add value to veterinary student graduates entering careers in research.” 

The AAEP Foundation established the Past Presidents’ Research Fellow in 2006. The award is made possible through the monetary contributions of AAEP past presidents.  

For more information about this program and other scholarships offered through the AAEP Foundation, visit www.aaepfoundation.org

About the AAEP Foundation 
The AAEP Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1994, serves as the charitable arm of the American Association of Equine Practitioners to improve the welfare of horses. Since its inception, the Foundation has disbursed more than $5.4 million to fulfill its vital mission.