Doctoral student goes to Australia to train in infectious disease research
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
MANHATTAN — "If you would have told me one year ago today that I would end up studying high-containment infectious diseases at a world-class laboratory in Australia, I would have called you crazy," wrote Dr. Michelle Mazur recently via email from Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
Mazur, Wichita, already earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University in May 2013 and then decided to continue her education through the D.V.M.-Ph.D. program in the College of Veterinary Medicine. She is working on her doctorate under Bob Rowland, a renowned swine-disease researcher and professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the college.
For the past six months, Mazur has been working at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's Australian Animal Health Laboratory, or more commonly known in Australia as CSIRO's AAHL.
"My program of study is constantly evolving, but I've begun my Ph.D. in Australia through training in the laboratory," Mazur said. "I work in a biosecurity-level 3 environment, which means you change all your clothes to enter the lab — nothing leaves — and I take a shower on the way out. I have always been interested in high-containment laboratories, so I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to train in this environment."
While a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is already considered to be a graduate degree, the College of Veterinary Medicine offers additional graduate-level programs that allow students to earn a master's degree in veterinary biomedical sciences, a Master of Public Health degree in infectious diseases and zoonoses, and a doctorate in either pathobiology or physiology. These advanced degrees provide training for careers in research laboratories and public health institutions.
"Veterinarians are fortunate to have many career options and a career in research is a path that many of our D.V.M. students and graduates are eager to pursue," said Frank Blecha, associate dean for research in the College of Veterinary Medicine. "It's hard to imagine a more exciting Ph.D. program than the one that Michelle is pursuing. The collaborative project on African swine fever that Drs. Mazur and Rowland are conducting with our Australian colleagues at the AAHL in Geelong is an important part of our efforts to assist with workforce development for the National Bio and Agro-Defense facility that is being built next to our college."
"Through K-State's collaboration with the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, I have had the wonderful opportunity to study and train with world-class virologists and veterinarians," Mazur said.