The two-year Merck Equine Research Fellowship will support researcher Izabela De Assis Rocha, BVM, PhD candidate, in her study of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) and Sarcocystis neurona.
Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, is pleased to announce a new partnership with Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research from the University of Kentucky Center. The two-year Merck Equine Research Fellowship will support researcher Izabela De Assis Rocha, PhD candidate, in her study of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) and Sarcocystis neuron.
“The Gluck Equine Research Center is a preeminent leader in the field of equine health and scientific advancement, and we are thrilled to strengthen our relationship through this new fellowship,” said Dr. Wendy Vaala, Director of Strategic Development and Innovation, Companion Animals and Equine, Merck Animal Health. “EPM is a disease of particular interest and passion for our equine team, and Dr. Rocha’s work is nothing short of exceptional. We look forward to following her research as she continues to unravel the mysteries surrounding EPM and its primary causative agent, S. neuron.”
Dr. Rocha says she has been fascinated by all subjects related to the nervous system of animals and humans since her early years in veterinary school.
“During my residency in equine medicine, I was able to appreciate how little we know about neurological diseases in horses compared to other disorders, such as colic and lameness,” says Dr. Rocha. “Furthermore, I had a very difficult EPM case that led me to the conclusion that the answers we needed in equine neurology would likely come from basic and translational research rather than clinical practice alone.”
The initial funding for the Merck Equine Research Fellowship is $30,000 per year for a minimum of two years beginning in 2022. The fellowship ensures the continuation of equine research, which is essential in creating attractive learning opportunities to safeguard the future of equine health and research.
“I am honored to receive this scholarship,” said Dr. Rocha. “I see it as a celebration of joint efforts between academia and industry to advance the field of equine medicine and the training of the next generation of scientists.”
The Gluck Research Fellowship recognizes Merck Animal Health’s continued and unwavering commitment to the next generation of equine researchers and practitioners. Another example of Merck Animal Health’s student support is the awarding of $25,000 in scholarships to veterinary students wishing to pursue a career in equine medicine. Five outstanding students slated to graduate in 2023 from veterinary schools across the country each received a $5,000 Merck Animal Health Scholarship awarded by the Horse Foundation in December 2021.
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