Dr. Sophie H. Bogers, an equine surgery resident at Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Virginia, is the first recipient of the Elaine Klein Career Development Award.

One of two career development awards offered by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, the Klein award is a competitive program to promote the development of promising investigators by providing a $15,000 one-year salary supplement.

Bogers’ research focuses on using stem cells to treat osteoarthritis in horses with specific aims of optimizing the anti-inflammatory properties of equine bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells.

“We are very proud to see Sophie’s good work be recognized by such a prestigious award,” said Dr. Jennifer Barrett, Theodora Ayer Randolph Professor of Equine Surgery at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and Bogers’ advisor/mentor. “Her research has the potential to change the way osteoarthritis is treated in horses, but also perhaps in dogs and humans.”

A native New Zealander, Bogers received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from New Zealand’s Massey University Institute of Biological and Veterinary Sciences in 2009. She then completed an internship and fellowship at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky, as well as a master of veterinary science research degree at Massey.

She will graduate with a master’s degree in biomedical and veterinary sciences from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine this May, then pursue her doctoral degree at the college. She will continue to work closely with Barrett, a regenerative medicine researcher based at the Leesburg facility, with a targeted Ph.D. completion date of 2017.

The Klein Career Development Award is restricted to one award per year and is named in honor of horsewoman Elaine Klein. A prominent owner and breeder in Kentucky, Klein raced horses in partnership with her husband and son until her death in 2013. The grant is funded by the Klein Family Foundation.