Archived News

Training Future Veterinary Scientists


February 22, 2016


Dr. Kasen Riemersma grew up with an interest in science and biology thanks to the pages of National Geographic magazine. He received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Minnesota and a DVM from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. While in veterinary school, Riemersma’s interest turned to infectious diseases, specifically those that are vector-borne. He completed an externship at the Centers for Disease Control in Colorado—an experience that led him to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in September 2014 as a Ph.D. student in Dr. Lark Coffey’s laboratory.

He is now studying chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne pathogen commonly found in East Africa and Southeast Asia, but recently causing explosive outbreaks in the Caribbean and 11 locally-transmitted cases in Florida. While the disease isn’t typically fatal, the majority of people infected have clinical signs of fever, and disabling joint and muscle pain for one to two weeks—which lead to huge economic impacts in the communities where the virus is prevalent. In some cases, the joint pain persists for months to years.

“My goal is to help inform future vaccine development and antiviral therapy,” Riemersma said.

Training graduate students like Riemersma is an essential component of the School of Veterinary Medicine. Faculty in the school serve as primary mentors to over 100 graduate students representing a full spectrum of basic and applied dissertation projects. The school is the administrative home to four graduate groups; Comparative Pathology, Epidemiology, Immunology, and Preventative Veterinary Medicine.

In addition, SVM faculty participate in a large number of graduate programs administered through the UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies, ranging from Pharmacology and Toxicology, Neurosciences, Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology, to Bioengineering and Genetics.

For more information about resources for graduate students, visit our Graduate Programs website.