University of Illinois Biologic Resources Laboratory

Description of Elective Experience: 

The UIC Veterinary Externship Program is designed to provide interested veterinary students with an opportunity to gain an in-depth experience in laboratory animal medicine in a large centralized animal care program. The program itself emphasizes gaining hands-on experience in laboratory animal medicine, surgery and anesthesiology as well as becoming familiar with the standard husbandry procedures employed in an AAALAC accredited animal care program. The students are taught by the professional staff, the technical support staff, and the animal care staff. Through their exposure to the many and varied research projects conducted in the Biologic Resources Laboratory, they will gain first-hand experience supporting research programs, but will not be formally involved in any on-going research programs.

The program is designed to emphasize the support and service aspect of laboratory animal medicine with an emphasis on the multi-disciplinary team approach that has become such an integral part of biomedical research today. The program consists of rotations through the three clinical divisions (large animal, small animal, and primates), as well as the experimental surgery and radiology department. Initially the student is assigned to the research surgery service to develop skills in administering and monitoring anesthesia and to assist in all surgery performed by the veterinary staff and selected principal investigators. Following a thorough introduction to aseptic techniques, the student begins to suture incisions and works up to performing, under supervision, a variety of soft tissue and colony related surgical procedures.

In addition to this assignment, the student will make clinical rounds with the veterinary staff, in their area of assigned responsibility, with emphasis being placed on getting exposure to the cases and activities in the primate colony. In addition to this initial exposure the student will work with the breeding technician in the primate colony assessing the female reproductive cycles. The student will also be assigned responsibility for following the procedural schedule in the primate quarantine area and will review all pertinent clinical, laboratory and radiology data with the veterinary staff.

Institutional and Educational Resources - staffing, equipment, etc.: 

Associate Veterinarians and special expertise available

  • Five ACLAM board-certified veterinarians
  • Three postdoctoral fellows in laboratory animal medicine
  • The postdoctoral training at UIC has been in existence for almost 20 years with positions available for three fellows.
  • Pathology training is provided by veterinary pathogists at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and Abbott Laboratories.

Educational Resources

  • Complete ACLAM textbook and slide series on various laboratory species and topics
  • Extensive collection of laboratory animal journals including Comparative Medicine and JAALAS
  • In-house library of general veterinary textbooks
Student Responsibilities - what is expected of students in terms of hours, days of the week, shadowing or actual support?: 

Students are expected to conduct clinical assessments, perform surgery, and master basic medical techniques under the supervision of a member of the veterinary staff. They are expected to complete reading assignments in a timely manner and participate actively in learning opportunities such as graduate classes on animal handling, the seminar series for postdoctoral fellows, and pathology slide review. It is expected that they are serious in their intent to pursue a career in laboartory animal medicine following graduation from veterinary school.

Students are directly supervised by the senior veterinary staff. They may be trained by the senior veterinarians or by the postdoctoral fellows in the residency program. The student will work closely with the veterinary staff for the duration of the rotation rather than with support staff. 


Student Housing (include costs, amenities, pet friendly, contact info if different from elective contact info): 

Short-term student housing is available for a fee through UIC campus housing. Detilas may be found at Parking is available on campus for a fee. Details may be found at

Lisa Halliday, DVM, DACLAM
Contact email: 
1840 W. Taylor St.
M/C 533
Chicago, IL 60612
United States
Practice or Institution Type: 
Is student housing available?: 
Hours of supervision by a licensed veterinarian per week: