A faculty dedicated to veterinary excellence
Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine
PO Box 334
Basseterre, St. Kitts, West Indies
(869) 465-4161 Ext. 4011391
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Ross Vet faculty members have participated in research projects that have received funding from grant-awarding bodies, industry, corporations and governments, and our faculty have contributed to scholarly literature by publishing scientific papers in high quality, peer-reviewed journals.
Our research team comprises faculty from across the globe—many with experience at international agencies such as the World Health Organization. Ross Vet is providing opportunities for our students to engage in research and benefit from being taught by research leaders in their field—a process designed to help students develop into career-ready graduates.
One Health Center for Zoonoses and Tropical Veterinary Medicine
Souvik Ghosh, BVSC & AH, MVSC, PhD
Dr. Ghosh, Director of the One Health Center for Zoonoses and Tropical Veterinary Medicine, is working on multiple projects involving enteric viruses from a variety of animal species, as well as animal parasites. One project attempts to sequence the whole genomes of a pig and a nonhuman primate (African green vervet monkey) rotavirus-A strains. The center’s findings provide evidence for pig to monkey interspecies transmission of rotaviruses. Another project has obtained the complete genetic sequences of gene segment-2, a gene essential to the viral replication, of a dog and an African green vervet monkey picobirnavirus strains.
Jennifer Ketzis, BS, MS, PhD
Among her many projects, Dr. Ketzis is working to identifying improved diagnostic methods for Strongyloides stercoralis, zoonotic parasite often underdiagnosed in the developing word. Additionally, the center is studying the prevalence and genetic diversity of parvovirus and coronavirus in dogs, and coronavirus in cats.
The Center for Integrative Mammalian Research
Felix Toka, DVM, PhD, DSc, DACVM
‘Understanding the innate immune role of TRIM proteins in bovine macrophages’: TRIM genes belong to a very large family of genes that encode proteins that play a number of roles in cellular processes, Dr. Toka explains, particularly in innate immune responses to infection. A few of these TRIM genes are reported to have antivirals effect on retroviruses. Such a role or at least similar, has not been described for many TRIM genes present in livestock animals. The overall goal this research is to determine the global gene expression profile of TRIM genes, analyze TRIM protein expression, and study their function in relation to stimulation of bovine macrophages with pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) as well as infection with viruses or bacteria.
Aspinas Chapwanya, BVSC, BSC, MVM, PhD
Dr. Chapwanya is interested in fundamental mechanisms of host defense immunity in livestock and primates, and the impact of infection in the female genital tract. Dr. Chapwanya has keen interest in immunology and reproductive immunobiology. He has assembled a network of collaborators in Austria Brazil, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, St. Kitts and Nevis, USA and England to explore innovative ways of improving animal welfare and fertility. His postgraduates students are investigating diverse topics in animal and tissue culture models, including proteomics of seasonal weight loss in sheep, invitro protein production by endometrial epithelial cells, uterine proteome of endometritis, controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in monkeys, microbiome of the bovine reproductive tract and host defense proteins in the genital tract of ewes. Dr. Chapwanya recently introduced two exciting livestock breeding initiatives in St. Kitts and Nevis. These initiatives aim to introduce genetic diversity and improved weaning rates of local cattle and goats, translating into higher meat yields, more revenue for farmers and better livelihood of the local community. These projects, designed to guarantee food safety, rely on extensive participation of RUSVM DVM students and a collaborative partnership with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health
Mark Freeman, BSC, PhD
A current project of Dr. Freeman involves the study of invasive Pacific lionfish (Pterois spp.) from the waters surrounding St Kitts. Invasive lionfish are voracious predators and are known to have a serious negative impact upon coral reef fish populations; however, little is known about their general biology in the Caribbean region. If we want to be able to control these invasive fish, it is extremely important to identify populations within the region, in order to understand their reproduction and potential impacts to the ecosystem.
Michelle Dennis, DVM, PhD, DACVP
One of the most serious challenges for the recovery and survival of leatherback sea turtle populations is their notoriously low hatch success, which is especially problematic in St Kitts. The locally poor hatch success is even more discouraging when considering only one of a thousand hatchlings that make it to sea will survive to adulthood. Working with the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network, Dr. Dennis has been investigating the pathology of dead leatherback embryos. The aim of this research is to better understand causes of embryo mortality, and to identify mitigations that can improve hatch success.
Center for Research and Innovation in Veterinary and Medical Education
Elpida Artemiou, MSc, PhD, AFAMEE
In supporting the human animal bond and enriching student learning and animal kennel environments, the Center recently completed a pilot study on the effects of music on student participants, assessing changes in stress, blood pressure and pulse, and canine subjects measuring heart rate variability during a simulated laboratory on canine physical examination. Extending research surrounding the human animal bond, the Center hopes to initiate an on campus pet therapy program/study using hand raised rabbits that can be later introduced to the St. Kitts community.