Annika Diaz

Annika Diaz is an Animal Science major at The Ohio State University. This summer, she is working with Dr. Anastasia Vlasova at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, where she is conducting research focused on understanding porcine rotavirus C. Annika plans to graduate in 2021, when she intends to pursue veterinary school.

Annika Diaz holds a test tube in a lab

LSAMP: Tell me a little bit about the research you’re conducting this summer!

Annika: This summer I have been conducting research with Dr. Anastasia Vlasova at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, Ohio. The research I have been working on is focused on gaining a better understanding of the little-understood porcine rotavirus C. My project has a focus on surveillance of the virus in a particular swine herd, while also assessing the role that maternal immunity plays in immunity for piglets. While most of my work was focused in the lab, I was also able to gain experience on the animal side by helping with some of the procedures.

LSAMP: How did you get involved in undergraduate research?

Annika: My experience as a LSAMP scholar made me become more interested in undergraduate research. LSAMP made me realize just how valuable research could be in helping guide my preparation for professional school, and I very grateful for the opportunity to work on this project with the help of the LSAMP SURE Program. The project that I am working on combines my interests in immunology and animal health. The department I am working through is Veterinary Preventative Medicine where the veterinary profession meets research, a potential direction I may take my career.

LSAMP: What do you enjoy most about undergraduate research?

Annika: Undergraduate research has made me appreciate having the ability to apply my knowledge gained through course work to actual practice. In my time at the OARDC, I have gained many valuable laboratory skills in addition to a greater understanding of animal science and health. It is very gratifying being able to see my work in the lab having valuable results.

LSAMP: Does your experience working with undergraduate research connect to your future career goals?

Annika: My experience with undergraduate research has opened my mind to the possibilities of incorporating research into my intended career of becoming a veterinarian. Through making connections at the OARDC, I have learned more about the importance of animal health research and where it fits in to the veterinary profession. I hope to gain more experience with research in the future to help consolidate my future career goals.