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Awards and Honors

DVM Pursuing Graduate Degree Wins Important Award for Avian Vaccine Research

Allison Boone has earned the Reed Rumsey Student Award from the American Association of Avian Pathologists. Photo by John Joyner.

Allison Boone, a graduate student at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, has received the prestigious Reed Rumsey Student Award for Advancement of Avian Medicine from the American Association of Avian Pathologists. The late Reed Rumsey, a former president of the AAAP, bequeathed $25,000 to the organization to establish the award. 

The award is given annually for original research or a case study conducted by the applicant. Recipients receive $1,000 plus travel expenses to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s annual meeting, where they present their work at the Avian Medicine Section.

Boone, whose doctorate will be in Comparative Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in infectious disease, also holds a DVM degree from NC State. She was recognized for her novel research on vaccinating chicken embryos in ovo (in the egg) with Herpesvirus of Turkeys (HVT) Vaccine to stimulate the immune systems of newly hatched chicks to develop more rapidly. Her research found that the immune systems were greatly enhanced, providing protection against a number of pathogens including one that can lead to lymphoma in chickens. Boone reports that this is the first vaccination believed to prevent tumors from developing in animals.

Boone’s graduate school mentor, Professor of Poultry Health Management Isabel Gimeno, says it’s important that students get recognized for their efforts. 

“In the case of Allison, it is even more relevant because she has done it while working as a full-time veterinary pathologist,” Gimeno says. “She has done an amazing job.”

From 2014 until April, Boone worked as a diagnostic toxicologist at the Rollins Animal Disease Lab in Raleigh. She now works with Experimental Pathology Laboratories in Research Triangle Park, which does work for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The NIEHS researches how the environment affects human disease as one of the 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health. 

Boone says she intends to make a career at NIEHS. “No day here is the same,” she says. “I’m out of my comfort zone, but I like that.”

In her letter nominating Boone for the Reed Rumsey Award, Gimeno reviewed her various accomplishments to date: 

“She has already published a manuscript in the journal Vaccine and has submitted another to the Journal of General Virology. She will have another three publications by the time she graduates next December. Furthermore, she has presented her research findings at numerous professional meetings both national and international and was awarded with the ‘Rosy’ Rosenwald Student Poster Award in 2019.”