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K-State Today

March 11, 2019

Roman Ganta builds on connections in India

Submitted by Joe Montgomery

Roman Ganta visits India to build on professional relationships

Many Kansans are very familiar with the quote, "There's no place like home." For Roman Ganta, K-State veterinary professor and director of the Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases, this phrase has broader meanings. He recently returned to his home country of India where he was able to build upon connections there for developing new professional partnerships.

Ganta visited Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India, in the state of Andhra Pradesh where, as an alumnus of the biochemistry department, he was able to discuss collaborations with the university's administration. He also participated in an alumni meeting of the department of biochemistry to promote graduate education, particularly by taking advantage of contemporary resources and technology. Previously, Ganta had established a memo of understanding between Kansas State University and Andhra University through which several students have visited K-State for graduate education. Additionally, two K-State College of Veterinary Medicine students have visited Andhra University. The memo of understanding also included a faculty exchange program that supported a College of Veterinary Medicine faculty member visiting Andhra University several years ago.

Ganta serves on the International Board of Advisors for King's Ideal School, Anakapalli, Visakhapatnam. He said this school, which is in rural India, has a mission to serve underprivileged children, while still providing education to those who are defined as privileged. "Privileged" and "underprivileged" are defined as those who can and cannot afford the education.

"This novel concept is implemented to close the gap among all children, independent of their economic status, while promoting higher education," Ganta said. "I spent several hours of interaction with students and offered them guidance for ways to succeed in the promising new world we live in. I'm hoping I can help make a difference."

Another part of Ganta's trip home included a visit to the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at Kerala Veterinary University located in Pookode, Kozhikode, Kerala (state), to discuss research collaborations related to vector-borne diseases of importance to companion and agricultural animals. From there he visited Sri Venkateswara Veterinary University to discuss the existing memo of understanding between the university and the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine that Ganta had previously established for fostering collaborations.

"Two of our K-State College of Veterinary Medicine students have visited Sri Venkateswara Veterinary University in the past," Ganta said. "I hope to renew these efforts in the future. Such collaborations provide some exciting and unique learning opportunities for all parties involved."

Ganta's tour included a trip to the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Udipi, Karnataka (state) to engage in potential collaboration to extend research on Scrub Typhus.

"Scrub Typhus is a significant rickettsial disease in people, which can result in high mortality rates and is caused by the pathogen Orientia tsutsugamushi," Ganta said. "The disease spreads from bites of infected chiggers — larval mites. It is an important disease impacting people from all across Southeast Asia and also continues to be a major health hazard for U.S. military personnel who are stationed in those regions."

The last visit on Ganta's trip was to A. Nagarjuna University. Ganta is an external examiner for several doctoral students from this university.

"I talked with the university administration and faculty in their department of biotechnology regarding our current and future contributions to its graduate education," Ganta said. "Overall this trip was very fruitful. It is exciting to be involved in all of these partnerships and represent K-State."