Graduate Program News

CVM PhD Students Win 2017-2018 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

We are very pleased to announce that Comparative and Molecular Biosciences PhD candidate Haiguang Wang and Veterinary Medicine PhD candidate Junjie Shao have been awarded Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship gives the University's most accomplished PhD candidates an opportunity to devote full-time effort to an outstanding research project by providing time to finalize and write a dissertation during the fellowship year.

Haiguang WangHaiguang Wang's research focuses on Natural Killer T (NKT) cells, which are a unique type of T cells that recognize lipids instead of peptides. These cells play diverse roles in immunity, and Haiguang's work seeks to understand how NKT cells differentiate into distinct effector subsets in order to better utilize these cells for therapeutic applications. He has identified a new multipotent progenitor that gives rise to three NKT subsets and he is defining the factors that determine the subsets' commitment.

Haiguang is advised by Dr. Kristin Hogquist. 

Junjie Shao

Junjie Shao's research focuses on arenaviruses which cause zoonotic infections that result in lethal hemorrhagic fever diseases in humans. There is no current FDA-approved vaccine or specific antiviral therapy for arenaviruses. Junjie's work seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms by which the arenavirus enters cells and evades host immunity. The goal of his research is to develop novel antiviral therapeutics against these deadly arenavirus pathogens.

Junjie is advised by Dr. Yuying Liang and Dr. Hinh Ly.

This is truly an honor for the winners and for our graduate programs. Congratulations to Haiguang, Junjie, and their advisers for this outstanding recognition.

Saint Paul Campus Science in Seconds: May 23, 2017

Graduate Students doing science on Saint Paul Campus

Mark Rutherford and Irene Bueno Padilla

PhD Students Elaine Norton (CMB) and Irene Bueno Padilla (VMED) represented the CVM as competitors in the first annual Saint Paul Campus Science in Seconds competition on Tuesday, May 23 in Borlaug Hall. Elaine and Irene joined graduate students from the College of Biological Sciences and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences as they each presented their thesis research in under three minutes using only one slide, with cash prizes awarded for the best presentations. Irene Bueno Padilla won both first place and the viewers' choice award in the competition for her presentation about the impacts that aquaculture, wastewater treatment plants, and other influences have on the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Three Graduate Students Named MnDRIVE Global Food Fellows

Veterinary Medicine PhD students Kruthikaben Patel, Shaoyuan Tan, and Robert Valeris have been named MnDRIVE Global Food Ventures Fellows. These one-year awards seek to support and broaden the training of graduate students conducting research in the areas of food systems, safety, and security.

Kruthikaben Patel 

Kruthikaben Patel's research investigates the relationship between bedding bacterial counts and udder health in U.S. dairy farms and seeks to gain a better understanding of the many management-related factors that may influence bedding bacterial counts and mastitis risk. She is advised by Dr. Sandra Godden. 

Shaoyuan Tan

Shaoyuan Tan's research goal is to develop a method for real-time field-based pathogen detection in swine populations. Using porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) as the test model, she will adapt and evaluate a portable, hand-held sequencing device, the MinION (Oxford Nanopore) for rapid disease diagnosis. Shaoyuan is advised by Dr. Michael Murtaugh. 

Robert Valeris

Robert Valeris's research seeks to elucidate the ecoepidemiology of Campylobacter jejuni in poultry. One particular interest of his research is the building of a model that can inform on the best interventions to reduce the burden of this zoonotic disease in poultry flocks. He is advised by Dr. Randall Singer. 

The Global Food Ventures program is a public-private partnership committed to answering the global imperative of safe, nutritious, and affordable food through the application of innovative discovery in agriculture, food, nutrition/health technologies, and next-generation workforce development. The program is funded by the state of Minnesota through Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy program (MnDRIVE).

2017 Commencement

The CVM held commencement on Saturday, May 6th at Northrop Auditorium. Ten PhD and two MS graduates participated in the ceremony. Congratulations, graduates!

MS and PhD Graduates

Left to right: Jenny Brown, Sylvia Wanzala, Eugene Nwaokorie, Elizabeth Coppelman, Whitney Knauer, Fabian Chamba Pardo, Mike Rahe, Jing Du, Vachira Hunprasit, Hamada Aboubakr, Shengbin Li, Xi Guo