Report Animal Concerns

Postdoctoral Clinical Training Program

Established in 1962, our Postdoctoral Clinical Training Program is one of the oldest and most recognized programs for training laboratory animal veterinarians.

As an officially recognized American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) training program, this intensive three-year residency is specifically designed for veterinary graduates interested in receiving their American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) specialty board certification in laboratory animal medicine.

Having trained a significant proportion of current ACLAM Diplomats, our program emphasizes:

  • Clinical medicine
  • Laboratory animal pathology
  • Animal resource administration and management
  • Research training in comparative medicine, and
  • The study of phenomena basic to the disease of all species

ACLAM Eligibility

Program completion satisfies ACLAM eligibility requirements for AVMA specialty board certification in laboratory animal medicine

LEARN MORE about aclam requirements

Clinical Training Program Application

Applications for the Postdoctoral Clinical Training Program are available on the Veterinary Internship & Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) website

Visit the VIRMP website

About Our Postdoctoral Clinical Training Program

Interested applicants must meet the following requirements PRIOR TO entry into the program:

Private practitioners are also encouraged to apply. Individuals without the qualifications listed above will NOT be considered.

Our program uses the Veterinary Internship & Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) website for the application process. Interested applicants must submit their applications and upload all required materials to the VIRMP website between November 1, 2020, and December 13, 2020, in order to be considered.*

Applicants must also rank the programs in which they have interest no later than February 12, 2021. Match results will be posted on March 1, 2021, using the VIRMP website.

Additional details on the VIRMP application process, including a list of other participating training programs, is available on the ASLAP Career Development webpage.

*Please note that the application deadline for laboratory animal/comparative medicine training programs is earlier than other internship and residency programs in order to allow sufficient time for programs to schedule interviews with prospective candidates.

The primary objective of the Postdoctoral Clinical Training Program is to produce successful, professional laboratory animal veterinarians who possess the appropriate knowledge and skills to:

  • Obtain specialty certification by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Perform common clinical and technical procedures necessary for the practice of laboratory animal medicine
  • Effectively manage animal resource programs, personnel, and facilities
  • Conduct independent and collaborative research
  • Successfully interact with researchers and their technical staff during review and refinement of animal research protocols
  • Understand and successfully navigate the highly regulated environment of animal research

The program is three years in duration, with three new residents entering the program each year.

During the program, residents work with faculty and fellow residents to gain the knowledge and skills needed to become successful laboratory animal veterinarians.

Primary areas of training include clinical medicine and pathology, management and administration of laboratory animal programs and facilities, regulatory compliance, and conduct of research. Both didactic instruction and experiential training are utilized to facilitate the diverse range of information and skills required to complete the program.

Below is a summary of the learning objectives and outcomes for each year, as well as a general timeline outlining program components.

Year 1:

During their first year of residency, residents devote the majority of their time and effort to addressing clinical issues, including the diagnosis and treatment of spontaneous or experimentally-induced illnesses within our animal colonies.

Throughout the year, residents also:

  • Play an active role in designing and implementing preventative health programs for both rodent and non-rodent species, and investigate the pathologic basis of disease;
  • Are strongly encouraged to produce a first-author case report or clinical investigation suitable for publication either as a poster or a scientific article;
  • Participate in a University ethics course during the fall semester;
  • Attend and give lectures in the ULAM Seminar Series as part of the didactic portion of their training; and
  • Are encouraged to identify potential topics for the mentored research project that they will pursue in their second and third years.

Year 2:

As part of their second year of residency, residents:

  • Are responsible for limited clinical duties (approximately 10% effort);
  • Actively study specific areas of emphasis, referred to as “ULAM Concentrations” (approximately 50 – 60% effort); and
  • Participate in didactic training, one or two optional external rotations, and initiate their primary research project (approximately 30% effort).

Year 3:

During the third year of the program, residents devote the majority of their effort and time (~90%) toward the completion of a significant research project.

Projects are designed to facilitate a resident’s submission of a first-author manuscript for publication that would be suitable for acceptance by ACLAM in partial fulfillment of specialty certification.

Throughout all three years, residents participate in the ULAM Seminar Series, Grand Rounds, Study Group, Journal Club, Research Seminar, and Pathology Rounds.

Residents are provided with supervised experiences in clinical medicine, laboratory animal pathology, and animal resource management during the first and second years of the program. In doing so, residents provide veterinary medical care for all animals utilized in research and teaching at the University of Michigan. The clinical and pathological caseload is substantial, consisting of more than 29,000 cases annually.

As part of their experiential training, residents:
  • Obtain clinical and experimental histories,
  • Perform physical examinations and diagnostic tests,
  • Prescribe treatment regimens,
  • Perform surgical procedures as needed for diagnosis and treatment, and
  • Interact with Principal Investigators and their research staff to discuss medical diagnoses and potential treatment options.

ULAM Concentrations

Second-year residents participate in supervised apprenticeships (ULAM Concentrations), where they apply relevant theory and practice to real-life situations. Each concentration is overseen by at least one faculty member, with the occasional participation of senior staff members.

Many concentrations also require the resident to complete one or more projects in addition to performing the daily duties of their chosen concentration.

Residents receive a formal assessment by Concentration Coordinator(s) and must demonstrate a minimum competency within each concentration in order to successfully complete the training program.

ULAM Concentration Topics

  • Surgery in Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Fiscal Management and Administrative Management of Animal Resource Programs
  • Rodents: Veterinary Care and Quarantine and Surveillance
  • Regulatory Compliance, including the function and operation of the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC)
  • Animal Husbandry Operations and Personnel Management
  • Training of Animal Care and Use Personnel
  • Animal Facility Design and Renovation
  • Professional Development
  • Aquatics: Zebrafish and Xenopus
  • Occupational Health and Management of Hazardous Substances
  • Pathology

Residents actively participate in a diverse array of didactic instruction throughout all three years of the program, with many learning opportunities coordinated and delivered by ULAM faculty. It is expected that residents also take an active role in their instruction and faculty mentoring in order to further develop their teaching and public speaking skills.

Specific areas of didactic instruction include:

ULAM Seminar Series

  • Biology, Medicine, and Laboratory Management of Rats and Mice
  • Biology, Medicine, and Laboratory Management of Primates
  • Biology, Medicine, and Laboratory Management of Rabbits
  • Biology, Medicine, and Laboratory Management of Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, and Miscellaneous Rodents
  • Biology, Medicine, and Laboratory Management of “Other” Species
  • Organization Administration of Animal Resource Programs
  • Anesthesia and Analgesia in Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Regulations in Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Applied Immunology and Diagnostics of Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Animal Nutrition in Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Pathobiology
  • Systems Pathology
  • Molecular Biology: Applications in Biotechnology and Animal Research
  • Statistics in Laboratory Animal Medicine

Other Scheduled Learning Opportunities

  • Journal Club
  • Study Group
  • Pathology Rounds
  • Grand Rounds
  • Research Responsibility and Ethics

All residents participate in at least 1.25 years of dedicated research training toward the end of the three-year program.

As part of their focused research training, residents are exposed to:
  • The development of scientific hypotheses,
  • The planning of experiments,
  • Testing of hypotheses,
  • Preparation of research protocols,
  • Record-keeping,
  • Statistical analysis of results,
  • Fulfillment of Koch’s postulates (when appropriate),
  • Interpretation and discussion of results, and
  • Presentation of results and conclusions at meetings and through publication.

By the start of their second year, residents—assisted by faculty members—must identify a list of potential topics for their mentored research project. Research topics may address clinically-relevant questions in laboratory animal medicine/science or explore an area of basic research.

During the first half of the second year, residents are expected to review the current literature related to their possible topics and meet with interested faculty to discuss potential projects.

In order to begin learning the skills and procedures necessary to conduct their project, residents are expected to finalize a research topic by the middle of their second year. Residents will also complete and submit any necessary animal use applications or amendments during this time.

Prior to the start of the project, both the resident and the research mentor should define the requirements that must be fulfilled for project completion. In their third year, residents devote a majority of their effort and time (~90%) toward the completion of their research project.

Projects are designed to facilitate the trainees’ submission of a first-author, hypothesis-driven manuscript for publication that would be suitable for acceptance by ACLAM in partial fulfillment of specialty certification.

Please note that acceptance of the manuscript for publication is NOT required for program completion.

In addition to their primary research project, residents will also have multiple opportunities and support to pursue additional independent and collaborative research projects throughout the program.

References and Resources

Postdoctoral Clinical Training Program Application
Application available for download from the Veterinary Internship & Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) website


Last updated: