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2010 REU and REV Program Participant Profiles: Crystal Drakes

Crystal Drakes photo.

Degree: B.S. Animal Sciences, Tuskegee Univ.
School: Kansas State Univ. College of Veterinary Medicine
Hometown: Trinidad and Tobago
REU/REV Research Project: Modeling Johne's Disease

What is the purpose of your research?
The purpose of the Johne's Disease research was to design a mathematical simulation model of Johne's disease infection in a dairy farm. This model could be used to observe the effects of newer testing and management processes that could diminish infection rates.

What does the research ultimately accomplish?
The research would ultimately be used to predict infection rates in a typical dairy herd where Johne's disease is found; however, it would also show the benefits of implementing new testing devices to either separate or remove infected cattle from the herd at an earlier stage of the disease, thus decreasing disease transmission. This model could be used to prove to dairy farmers how well this technique works.

What new experiences did you gain that have helped you today?
I definitely gained a better understanding of the mathematical skills needed to create a simulation model. Though I am far from being an expert in those skills, I believe I will have a better appreciation of the information being disclosed in research journals and other scientific writings.

Do you have an interesting "personal side" to your research experiences?
I have never been at another summer/research program where all the students got along as well as we all did. I enjoyed our group trips to the dairy farm as this increased my interest in large animal medicine, immunology, and epidemiology, as well as our hikes and tours around Tennessee's parks and other attractions where I was able to bond with my new friends.


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