Tufts veterinary student travels to Asia, Africa on fellowships

Published on May 15, 2008
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

One fellowship has allowed Elliott Garber to study zoonoses in India. The other fellowship will allow him to study disease transmission between wildlife and livestock in Mozambique and Angola.

Garber is a Tufts University student working on a veterinary degree along with master's degrees in public health and comparative biomedical sciences. He received the first fellowship from the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars Program through the National Institutes of Health. The second is a David L. Boren Fellowship through the National Security Education Program, with sponsorship from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Garber received the fellowships in 2007, and he deferred the Boren fellowship so he also could accept the Fogarty fellowship.

"The Fogarty program is meant to be a training experience, and I have definitely learned a lot about what is involved in doing quality public health research in a resource-poor setting," he reported between overseas trips.

Garber has been working with colleagues from the field of human medicine—physicians and microbiologists from the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.

"They have welcomed my perspective and are quite aware of the importance of dialogue and an interdisciplinary approach to infectious-disease research," he said.

Garber's research in India has focused on the potential transmission of Cryptosporidium and Giardia species between cattle and humans. The study population consists of rural households with children under 5 years old and calves that were under 6 months old at the start of the study period.

"Aside from the research itself, a big part of my year in India has simply been the experience of living on a daily basis in a place so different from the U.S.," Garber said.

Garber said he wonders if life in the United States will seem a bit boring without daily power outages or goats eating Bollywood movie posters along the road.

He doesn't have long to readjust, though, because he soon will be heading to Mozambique and Angola for his second fellowship. The Boren fellowship program supports U.S. graduate students who pursue study of languages and cultures critical to U.S. national security.

"In Mozambique and Angola, I will be working on disease issues at the interface of wildlife and livestock health in several of the huge transboundary conservation areas spanning the international borders of those countries," Garber said. "I'm especially interested in learning more about conflicting priorities of wildlife conservation and livestock development in these areas—and will probably be working on surveys of buffalo and cattle for bovine tuberculosis."

Garber plans to complete his degrees at Tufts in 2009.

Elliott Garber in India
Elliott Garber, a veterinary student at Tufts University, traveled to India on a fellowship to study the potential transmission of diseases between cattle and humans in rural households.