From Issue  Winter 2021

Bulldogs at Work

Bulldogs at Work

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences graduate students engaging in MAFES research.


Graduate student education — essential to MAFES research — offers higher learning potential and career advancement. Students deliver unique perspectives and unparalleled energy to solve pressing issues. Success in a rigorous research environment requires momentum garnered from experience students bring to the program, the work they’re currently engaged in, and the path they’re determined to pursue.

In this new section of MAFES Discovers, we introduce College of Agriculture and Life Sciences graduate students engaged in MAFES research and showcase how they are working to achieve their dreams.

Mariana Santos-Rivera

Mariana Santos-Rivera

Biochemistry Doctoral Student


Feature: The Fingerprint of Disease

Hometown: Ibagué, Colombia

I came to MSU because of my experience in NIRS (Near Infrared Spectroscopy) and the approach that Dr. Carrie Vance takes to the discipline by applying it to living systems.

I am excited to demonstrate the discipline's ability to identify and distinguish animal and plant pathogens and diseases as a contribution to biochemistry and other fields of science.

My research program has strengthened leadership, scientific research, data analysis, and writing skills that will help me achieve a successful career in the NIRS field.

Ishab Poudel

Ishab Poudel

Poultry Science Doctoral Student


Feature: Science that Illuminates

Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

I came to MSU because as one of only six universities in the U.S. with a poultry science department, MSU has state-of-the-art research facilities and numerous research opportunities.

I am excited knowing that my research will help the scientific community and poultry industry.

My research program will help me gain practical knowledge, skills, and experience to pursue a career in the poultry industry.

Lindsey Dearborn

Lindsey Dearborn

Animal and Dairy Science Master's Student


Feature: For the Health of the Heard

Hometown: Titusville, Florida

I came to MSU because of family ties here, Starkville's sense of "home away from home," and the university's exceptional animal science program.

I am excited to connect with small ruminant producers across Mississippi to develop a research program that will benefit the industry.

My research program surrounds me with wonderful faculty who provide excellent examples of being a university professor.

Dr. Courtney Ennis

Dr. Country Ennis

Poultry Science Ph.D.


Feature: Enriched Formulations

Hometown: Athens, Alabama

I came to MSU because my mentor's research interests aligned with mine. Additionally, Starkville had the same small-town, agricultural focused feel that I had at Auburn, where I received my undergrad.

I am excited about contributing to the commercial poultry industry and working with integrators and industry experts on research studies to answer important questions for the industry. My favorite experience was achieving U.S. Poultry and Egg Association funding. I learned so much from that process.

My research program gave me opportunities to formulate experimental diets, which I do now as an on-staff nutritionist for Cooks Venture. I also learned how to conduct nutrition pen trials and better understand feed additive research.

Dr. Sula Dogan

Dr. Sula Dogan

Life Sciences/Genetics Ph.D.


Feature: Marked for Life

Hometown: Ankara, Turkey

I came to MSU because of my mentor's experience in functional genomics and epigenomics of mammalian gamete and embryo development. I wanted to join his laboratory and work on investigating fertility markers.

I am excited because I was provided all I needed to complete my research project including mentor guidance. I completed the degree in less than four years and published many articles related to my research.

My research program helps me now as the director of laboratory operations at IVF Michigan and Ohio Fertility Centers. We help infertile couples have babies. I believe that the time at MSU prepared me for my current role.

Bronson Bass

Bronson Bass

Agronomy Master's Student


Feature: Room to Graze

Hometown: Moore Haven, Florida

I came to MSU because of the top-notch agricultural curriculum offered here.

I am excited about the sustainability aspect of my project, as it is a step in the right direction for successful agriculture for years to come.

My research program has opened my eyes to the multitude of agricultural career opportunities that exist and the importance of modern agricultural systems.

Celene Slifka

Celene Slifka

Veterinary and Biomedical Science Master's Student


Feature: Shelled Invaders

Hometown: State Center, Iowa

I came to MSU because I'm passionate about aquatic research, energized by the work that my mentors have published, and ready to produce impactful research for the catfish industry.

I am excited that my research aims to produce a molecular-based assay that will detect and quantify aquatic snails in catfish ponds as a potential tool for treatment evaluation.

My research program will help me protect and conserve the environment and bolster safe and healthy food sources consistent with my affinity for aquaculture and parasites.