College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Department of Veterinary Medicine

2018 Spring Awards Ceremony held May 17

Nancy Snyder and Denny Burian attended the awards ceremony

On Thursday, May 17, the Department of Veterinary Medicine held its annual awards ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of its faculty, postdocs and students. 

David Bruce Snyder Memorial Award for Avian Molecular Epidemiology

The David B. Snyder Memorial Award for exemplary graduate research in avian molecular epidemiology was established by Dr. Snyder’s colleagues in commemoration of his contributions to poultry disease research and diagnostics.

 Hassanein Abozeid was presented the David B. Snyder Memorial award by Mrs. Nancy Snyder

The recipient of the David B. Snyder award is Hassanein H. Abozeid. Hassanein is working in the department on a joint mission between Cairo University (Egypt) and University of Maryland, funded by the Egyptian government and the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station. Hassanein’s research focuses on the evolution of the newly emerging Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) strains and development of a safe effective vaccine using Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) as a vector vaccine.  Hassanein was the first in the world to investigate the evolution of IBV strain of genotype (GI-23 lineage) which is circulating in the Middle East and in some parts of Europe, and the first to carry out full genome sequence analysis of IVB strains circulating in Egypt. IBV is of high economic importance to the poultry industry all over the world – and to the Delmarva region in particular. This August, Hassanein is expected to defend his thesis entitled “Complete genome sequences of Egyptian infectious bronchitis viruses and development of a recombinant NDV-vectored vaccine.” After which time he looks forward to graduating.

Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Award

An award established by Homer and Martha Gudelsky in memory of their son, Avrum. This fellowship, reflecting Avrum’s fondness for animals and their well-being, is presented for exemplary graduate research in veterinary medicine.

This year, two graduate students were awarded the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Award:

Xiaoyang Liu was presented with the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Award

As a PhD student, Xiaoyang Liu has played an important role in driving our research program on several different research projects. Most notably, Xiaoyang’s research and preliminary data with the Cytomegalovirus (HCMV), has led to Dr. Xiaoping Zhu’s lab receiving a competitive NIH R21 grant. Xiaoping successfully defended his thesis, entitled “Viral Immune Evasion of FcRn Functions.” Xiaoyang’s research will be submitted for publication and a patent application has been disclosed to the Office of Technology Commercialization in UMD. The knowledge gained from his study will have a therapeutic application against antibody-mediated autoimmune disease in the clinic. 


Gongguan Liu was presented with the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Award

Gongguan Liu has been working as a graduate student in Dr. Meiqing Shi’s lab on the role of IL-27 in infections with African trypanosomes using a mouse model. He found that IL-27 is crucial for survival of mice infected with African trypanosomes via inhibit immunopathology in the liver. He also found that IL-27 is critically involved in the development of TNF/iNOS producing dendritic cells. We are using this data to submit a proposal to NIH.  Gongguan defended his thesis in a public seminar held on Thursday, May 31 entitled, “"The Immunoregulation of Interleukin-27 in African trypanosome infection.”

Departmental Award for Excellent Post-Doctoral Research

Dr. Quentin Bernard was presented with the Departmental Award for Excellent Postdoctoral Research

The recipient of this award is Dr. Quentin Bernard, who was nominated by Vet Med faculty member, Dr. Utpal Pal.  Quentin received his PhD in Immunology from the Université de Strasbourg (France) (“Understanding pathogenesis and prevention of Lyme disease”).  Being one of the key researchers in Dr. Pal’s lab, Quentin’s hard work and knowledge has contributed to it being a successful and internationally-renowned research program in borrelial immunobiology.  Quentin has nine publications, including a new article as first author in the journal PNAS entitled, “Plasticity in early immune evasion strategies of a bacterial pathogen.”

Departmental Outstanding Staff Service Award

Alexis Aguin-Piño and Johanna Lavigne were co-recipients of the Departmental Award for Outstanding Staff Service.

The VetMed department honored two staff members who exemplify hard work and dedication. Remarkably, the two staff members, Alexis Aguin-Piño (Lab Assistant) and Johanna Lavigne (Research Specialist), received exactly the same number of votes – and the Awards Committee felt that both deserved recognition.  Some of the comments received with their votes included, “She is always so helpful!,” “He works really hard to get the Vet Med facility ready for experiments," and “He is always available to collaborate with staff, students and faculty when they require special assignments.”  Our thanks for their dedication and commitment to serving the department. Congratulations, Alexis and Johanna!

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