Building bridges internationally to join forces with IDOH

March 3, 2023


Dr. Chidiebere (Chidi) Onoh, joined the laboratory of VBS Associate Professor Roberta O'Connor as a visiting scholar in January to research natural products that function against Apicomplexan parasites. Specifically to determine anti - parasitic efficacy and pharmacokinetics of newly identified marine natural products that show activity against Apicomplexan parasites like Cryptosporidium parvum and Toxoplasma sp.

Dr. Onoh was recruited through the Infectious Disease and One Health program (IDOH). IDOH is a partnership of some of Europe's leading research-intensive universities in the field of infectious diseases and the "one health" concept.  She obtained a Doctor of Veterinary medicine (DVM) degree from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in 2017 and practiced in a small animal clinic before deciding to further her studies in a research- intensive field relating to One Health.

"As a veterinarian, I am enthusiastic about research focused on the integration of the knowledge of human and animal diseases to enhance the development of new diagnostics, therapies, and interventions. In the process of streamlining my research interest and consequently my professional path, I discovered the Infectious Disease and One Health (IDOH) program. The IDOH course structure, jointly organized by top three European universities, and its affiliation to research institutes attracted me to apply for the program. Being one of the 22 students selected in the 5th IDOH cohort, I am currently in the University of Minnesota for my internship, a compulsory component in the fourth semester of IDOH Master’s program," Dr. Onoh explains.

When asked about how she learned about the IDOH program Dr. O'Connor states, "I was asked to join the Infectious Disease One Health (IDOH) masters program through a colleague of mine at Tufts Medical Center who was part of the program himself." 

The IDOH program consists of three semesters of didactic learning at three universities: University de Tours in France; Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain and Hannover Medical School in Germany. In the fourth semester,  the students conduct research in one of the affiliate partner labs. Faculty submission requirements for hosting a student in their laboratory include a description of a 6 month lab project. Once the lab project description is submitted to IDOH, a student will then contact the PI if they are interested to set up their 6 month internship. At the end of the program, they present the results of their research as a requirement for graduation.  Dr. O'Connor adds, "Chidi contacted me last year about coming to my lab to do her internship and we are thrilled to have her!  She is already generating data in the lab, even though she hadn't done cell culture or parasite culture before.  I am hoping that we can find ways to continue collaborating when she returns to Nigeria."

Categories: Faculty Research Students