Graduate student Teneema Kuriakose came to the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine looking for first-hand experience in the fight against zoonotic diseases, which are those that transmit from animals to humans. In her time here, she helped develop a new and rapid diagnostic test for avian influenza, the dreaded “bird flu” that has made international headlines. Her next goal is to pursue a doctorate and a career in biomedical research.
Pala, Kerala, India
St.Joseph’s, Neeloor; Kerala, India
M.S. in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
B.V.Sc and A.H (equivalent to DVM) The Kerala Agricultural University
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
It has been a privilege to come and study in this great university and I am proud of myself for being able to excel academically at UGA. As part of my research project, I had the opportunity to develop a novel diagnostic test for avian influenza. Rapid diagnosis of avian influenza, or “bird flu,” is very important because of the pandemic threat that the virus, which can cause fatal disease in humans, poses. Transmission and spread of the disease can be prevented by early diagnosis, and I believe that the assay we developed is very useful in the identification of the pathogenic virus.
I work as a graduate research assistant in Poultry Diagnostic Research Center. Currently I am testing clinical samples from chicken with the diagnostic assay developed in our lab.
I chose to attend UGA because…
… as a veterinarian interested in learning more about infectious zoonotic diseases, the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine was an ideal choice for me. The diverse research interests of the faculty in various aspects of infectious diseases along with the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary studies through the master’s program in veterinary and biomedical sciences were also important in choosing UGA. Moreover, I had heard from my friends that Athens is a great place to live with family.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
… wandering the third floor of Main Library or the Curriculum Materials Library, playing Frisbee at the Intramural Fields and going for a walk on the trails at Lake Herrick.
When I have free time, I like…
… to read with my daughter, to cook and invite friends for dinner. Also I like to read the online editions of Malayalam (our language) newspapers and magazines.
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
… try to write like James Herriot! I have read and reread most of his books and was inspired to create one of my own. I found out that I’m not quite good enough, but maybe I will try later!
My favorite place to study is…
… the Science Library. The calm and quiet atmosphere itself is motivating, but I prefer home on the day before exams.
My favorite professor is…
… Dr. Mark Jackwood, my research mentor. He has been a great support and his understanding, encouragement and guidance have helped me so much during the last two years. Also I would like to mention Dr. Claiborne Glover and Dr. Walter Schmidt, who inspired me to study biochemistry with a whole new perspective.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
… Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. His innovation and application of the concept of microcredit has helped millions of people in developing countries. I had the opportunity to work with some of the micro financing organizations and “self-help groups” in India, and this movement is definitely enabling a lot of people overcome poverty. It will be nice to learn more about his experiences over the decades.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
… start a company where I can provide employment and stable income to at least five hundred socially and economically underprivileged women.
After graduation, I plan to…
… get my Ph.D. in infectious diseases and pursue a career in biomedical research.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
… my first week at UGA, when everything looked very strange! It was funny to roam around downtown looking for the Graduate School, Office of International Education, Bursar’s Office, Registrar’s Office etc. I even missed my very first class at UGA because the bus driver dropped me off in front of the Biological Sciences Building instead of Life Sciences (The fault was mine, as I requested her to drop me in front of the ‘Biochemistry Building’).