The capstone research experience offers our MHS in One Health students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in a classroom setting to a hands-on training and networking opportunity typical of the One Health practice and leadership of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States Department of Agricultur (USDA), and other professional organizations. Each student works with their faculty advisor and our administrative staff to identify a semester-long project that fits their academic and career goals. In the past, we’ve had students complete their capstone with experts at the University of Florida, health departments, hospitals, the CDC, NIH, EPA, and WHO, among other professional organizations.
Learn about what some of our MHS Students are doing below!
Jesse Johnson interned at the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County, focusing on a One Health approach to control the Central Florida HAV outbreak for his capstone project. Community partnerships, outreach efforts, targeted focus on sanitation and education, case investigations, trend analysis, and an incident command structure were put in place and enabled Seminole County to drop out of the top 5 most affected counties in Florida. After completing his internship, Jesse was offered a full-time position with the team.
MHS student Kristen Wilson worked closely with the UF Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department on a project headed by Dr. Samantha Wisely for her capstone project. Kristen surveyed 15 sites in Gainesville to explore the link between urbanization and tick distribution. Kristen used the flag and drag method to collect ticks for identification and pathogen testing. Kristen’s findings and further public health research on this topic can offer insight into how to curb Lyme disease and other infections that can be caused by ticks.
Katherine Quintero worked on a pilot entomological field study in Darien, Panama with the Gorgas Institute for Health Research and Dr. Amy Vittor from the UF College of Medicine. The increase in demand for agricultural goods and services has led to increased deforestation. Katherine’s work focuses on analyzing the effects of this ecological imbalance on mosquito abundance, breeding, and species assemblage. Identifying the breeding sites and species present in deforested land types can aid in the early detection and control of alphaviruses such as Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus (VEEV) and Madariaga virus (MADV) in Panama.
Michael Leach completed a capstone project with the Shands Arts in Medicine program under Dr. Kenneth Heilman from the UF College of Medicine. Michael explored the connections and potential applications of using creative music activities to reverse or curb right hemispheric neurological decrement, or age-related cognitive decline. His work implies that the application of inexpensive creative music activities can be used as a preventative intervention for aging populations.
For his capstone, Andres Manrique completed an Infectious Disease Fellowship at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Georgia. Andres contributed to efforts to determine specific environmental risk factors that make individuals more susceptible to rabies. Not only did he gain laboratory experience, but Andres was able to develop his professional communication skills and network with researchers at the CDC.
Meaghan DeLise completed her capstone project at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Center for Coastal Ocean Science in Charleston, South Caronlina under the direction of Dr. Marie DeLorenzo. Meaghan’s research project examined the effects of both short and long term Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) exposure on adult oysters. The work involved analyzing uptake of PFOS in adult oyster tissues and measuring several stress-related biomarkers (lipid per-oxidation, glutathione, and lysosomal destabilization among others). By completing this research, Meaghan was able to facilitate the generation of data that can inform policy makers regarding the risks associated with PFOS contamination along the coastal US.