Limited funding prevented Tetiana Kuzmina, PhD, from completing her parasitology research in her native Ukraine. But after receiving the Albert and Lorraine Clay fellowship, the scientist was able to continue her research at the University of Kentucky's (UK) Gluck Equine Research Center.

"The fellowship benefits both the Gluck Equine Research Center and the visiting scientist," said Gene Lyons, PhD, at the Gluck Center. "The fellowship brings in scientists and incorporates work and an interchange of knowledge."

Kuzmina whose doctorate is in zoology and parasitology, spent October and November in Lyons' laboratory at the Gluck Center. Using classical parasitological methods, she participated in Lyons' study of horse parasites. She also studied molecular methods of analysis of worms from five different equids, including domestic horses, donkeys, wild Przewalski's Horses, Turkmenian Kulans, and zebras, in the molecular laboratory of Daniel Howe, PhD.

"My goal was to find if there are any influences of different equids on their parasites," Kuzmina said. "The results are not easy to obtain, because there are many complicated moments in molecular studies. I hope we will be able to find out, are there any genetic differences in cyathostomes from various hosts or not?"

With a classical parasitology background, some of her other main focuses during her visit were to master identification of strongylid nematodes by morphological criteria (under a light microscope) and to master the analysis of efficacy of the various anthelmintic drug compounds (any drug that acts against helminthic infections caused by parasitic worms) by critical test method.

Kuzmina said the critical test method and the other methods mentioned are not done in Ukraine. Prior to her visit to the Gluck Center, she had only read about it in articles by Lyons. Since coming to the Gluck Center, she said she now has a better understanding of the process.

"It's great to be here," Kuzmina said. "I never expected to see such an excellent experimental farm (at UK's Maine Chance Equine Campus). Unfortunately, no research institutions in Ukraine have such farms for their experimental studies."

Kuzmina joined the department of parasitology of the Institute of Zoology National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in 1997. She said while Ukrainian researchers are interested in international study, funding is not always there. Often, researchers have to find additional resources by themselves.

"She's done an awful lot in her career," Lyons said. "There are very few people in the world still doing classical studies of parasitology."

Due to time limitations on the compilation of results, Kuzmina was not able to compelte her study by the time she left for home. Still, she said, "I have obtained so much new information here."

Jenny Blandford is the Gluck Equine Research Foundation assistant at the Gluck Center.

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