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Veterinary student gains skills during fellowship
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While many students took a break this summer from the rigors of college life, one Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine student spent her time researching amoeba-related diseases.
Janet Gomez, a fourth year doctor of veterinary medicine student, spent nine weeks in the Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program. She was part of a group of 10 students selected out of 263 applicants. The program gave her experience in epidemiology, the branch of medicine related to the causes and possible control of diseases.
After an orientation at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Gomez worked at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. She investigated amoeba-related diseases in humans and animals. Amoebas are single-celled organisms that live in water or soil.
“With my mentors, I researched an amoeba that has been isolated from soil and dust. It can cause encephalitis in people and animals around the world,” Gomez said. “This is the first national study on this particular amoeba. I got to present our findings to colleagues at the CDC at the end of my fellowship.”
Gomez worked with veterinarians and human medical doctors throughout her experience and was able to see firsthand the connections between animal and human health.
“There was really no distinction between DVMs and MDs at the CDC -- everyone works together to solve public health problems,” Gomez said. “The experience gave me a practical look at how I can apply what I have been studying.”
Gomez, who is interested in furthering her studies in epidemiology and earning a master’s of public health degree, is part of the growing global One Health initiative.
“We are proud of our students taking opportunities like this, and are particularly excited about Ms. Gomez’s work in understanding how animal and human health are related as part of the One Health initiative,” said Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine. “Her experience at the CDC exposed her to concepts that will help shape her career and research goals.”
Gomez, a first-generation college student, earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis in 2009. Gomez has traveled to Nicaragua on a mission trip to provide free community veterinary services. Her goal is to research how certain diseases affect human and animal population groups differently.
Contact: Karen Templeton, 662-325-1100