UGA doctoral student Maria Eugenia Castellanos has been awarded a 2016-2017 Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship to fund her research on tuberculosis transmission in Guatemala.
Castellanos, a doctoral candidate studying epidemiology in the UGA College of Public Health, will work to identify the risk factors associated with the spread of TB, especially in HIV patients. The one-year, renewable Schlumberger Foundation grant provides women scientists from developing and emerging countries up to $50,000 to pursue advanced degrees in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field.
For her project, Castellanos will analyze isolates of the bacteria that cause mycobacterium tuberculosis from patients at Clinica Familiar “Luis Angel Garcia,” an HIV specialty clinic within Guatemala City’s General Hospital.
Castellanos received her bachelor’s degree in chemical biology from the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala in 2005 and, with the support of a Joint Japan-Inter-American Development Bank Scholarship, traveled to England to study tuberculosis at University of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. She completed a master’s degree in medical microbiology there in 2008.
Returning to her hometown of Guatemala City, Castellanos accepted a position at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala teaching and working as a research assistant in the Malaria and Vector Biology Unit of the university’s Center for Health Studies. In 2014, she came to the U.S. supported by a Fulbright fellowship and a desire to pursue a doctoral degree under the mentorship of Dr. Christopher Whalen, the Ernest Corn Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the UGA College of Public Health.