Thursday, September 17, 2015

Student Profile: Carolyn Chang

Carolyn Chang is a Ph.D. student in the Fish and Wildlife Biology and Management program at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her current research is focused on understanding and controlling infectious diseases that infect laboratory zebrafish.

1. What is your current research/position?
I am currently a PhD student at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry working with Dr. Christopher Whipps. I am researching the control of infectious diseases in laboratory zebrafish. Specifically I research mycobacteriosis, a common disease in zebrafish. I am interested in better understanding this disease in order to implement effective disease control and management measures.

2. What sparked your interest in aquatic animal health?
I was introduced to aquatic animal health during my M.Sc. degree where I used the zebrafish model to investigate craniofacial development. The focus of this research was more biomedical; however, I ended up learning a lot about fish health and husbandry through working with the zebrafish model. I also had the opportunity to work as a research technician in an immunology lab shortly after completing my M.Sc. where I gained interest in immunology and disease research. For my doctoral studies I knew that I really wanted to continue to work with the zebrafish, but I also wanted to move into studying infectious diseases. I was fortunate to find a research advisor with a research project that allowed me to pursue both of these interests.

3. What has been your favorite fisheries-related job?
I have only had the opportunity to work with fish in graduate school. My favourite part of my fish work so far has been conducting in vivo experiments. I have had a chance to perform these experiments during both my masters and my current research. I feel that there is finesse to performing surgical procedures, injections and manipulations on a tiny little fish and an associated amount of patience to repeat these procedures many times. I love this part of my research, especially the really finicky parts.

4. What do you like most about graduate/professional school?
I enjoy the balance of being able to work both independently and under the supervision of my advisor and thesis committee. I like that I can work on my research independently, but I still have assistance from these established researchers to help me brainstorm, overcome obstacles and learn new techniques. Working in this environment, with this support system, has helped me grow and gain experience so that I will be prepared to move forward as a researcher.

5. When and why did you first become involved with AFS and the FHS?
I first became involved with AFS and the FHS when I moved to SUNY-ESF to start my Ph.D. My first AFS meeting was the 7th ISAAH meeting in 2014 which was a great first experience. This was when I joined AFS and the FHS section. I have since been able to get a paper published in the FHS Journal (JAAH) and attend the FHS meeting this year in Ithaca, NY. I have found that the FHS section is composed of an impressive group of professionals who are welcoming and all doing amazing work.

6. What are your long-term professional goals (FHS or otherwise)?
My long-term professional goals are to continue to conduct research and move forward to post-doc and then to work in academia. Ideally, I would like to be in a position where I can conduct research as well as teach. Further into the future, I am also interested in working in an administrative role for a government agency or industry. I hope to also be able to experience living in some new and great places as I move through this career path!