Merial Supports Infectious Disease PhD Program

US - Merial, the animal health division of Sanofi, is providing financial awards to three postdoctoral students completing their research at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia.
calendar icon 28 October 2014
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The awards provide graduate research opportunities for veterinary students in the specialty areas of veterinary pathology and microbiology in the field of infectious diseases. Merial has been sponsoring students in this program since 2006.

Harry W. Dickerson, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Affairs at the University of Georgia, said: “Veterinarians that complete this program become proficient and innovative diagnosticians and researchers in the field of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases.

With funds provided by Merial to cover competitive stipends, the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine has been able to recruit and train the next generation of veterinary diagnosticians and researchers to enter careers in academia, industry, or government.”

The recipients of the $40,000 scholarships will focus their studies on a diversity of topics, including pathology, microbiology and avian virology.

Fabian Kausche, Global Head of R&D for Merial, said: “As a global leader in animal health, Merial is dedicated to investing in our next generation of researchers. Infectious diseases are still a major public health concern and Merial is committed to help address the complex animal health challenges in this area. Through this program, we can do our part to help some of the brightest students explore this important work, and reward promising research in animal health.”

Scholarship recipients

Sophie Aschenbroich, DVM, DACVP, originally from Lyon, France, completed her residency in July 2014 at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine in anatomic pathology and in September was board-certified in anatomic pathology by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. The focus of her PhD work is the identification of specific host macrophage genes critical in the intracellular survival of Burkholderia thailandensis. Dr Aschenbroich’s career goals include earning a faculty position in an academic institution with a three-part focus in teaching, diagnostics and research.

Matthew Abraham DVM, MS, received his veterinary degree from Kerala Agricultural University, India. He came to the United States in 2011 to pursue his master’s degree in poultry science from the Department of Poultry Science at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and is currently working on his PhD, researching the role of SH gene in the pathogenesis of J paramyxovirus (JPV). Dr Abraham hopes to move into a scientific research career where he can combine clinical and biomedical research experience to develop life-saving vaccines.

Carmen Jerry, DVM, earned her doctor of veterinary medicine degree at the University of the West Indies and graduated with honors. Her veterinary background is concentrated in pathology and avian diseases. Currently, she is enrolled in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine’s combined residency/PhD program in anatomic pathology, with a poultry emphasis. Dr Jerry’s PhD will focus on avian diseases, specifically avian influenza. She hopes to become a veterinary pathologist and poultry veterinarian who helps contribute to the poultry industry and veterinary medicine.

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