Amazing Students

Mauricio Seguel

Mauricio Seguel is a veterinarian and Fulbright Fellow from Chile now earning his Ph.D. in veterinary pathology. His dream is to build a field research lab on a Chilean island to better understand the biological processes in nature.

Hometown:

Valdivia, Chile

High School:

Liceo La Providencia, Traiguen, Chile

Degree objective:

Ph.D. in veterinary pathology and board certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP)

Other degrees:

D.V.M., Universidad Austral de Chile
B.S. in veterinary sciences, Universidad Austral de Chile

Expected graduation:

Fall 2016

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I’m a veterinarian and a Fulbright Fellow from Chile and I’m currently enrolled in a combined anatomic pathology residency and Ph.D. program in the pathology department. As part of my Ph.D. project I study the pathology and ecology of diseases of marine mammals at Guafo Island, in the Chilean Patagonia. We are studying a disease system involving South American fur seal pups and hookworms.

During these three years at UGA I have had the opportunity to interact with many people not just from UGA but also from other universities and research centers. This has helped me to create a research network here and in Chile that has allowed us to get grants from several organizations (Rufford small grants, Sigma Xi, Universidad Austral de Chile, Society for Marine Mammalogy, MBZ species conservation fund, UGA and Tinker Foundation) and also to explore crowdfunding to finance our studies here in the U.S. and in the Chilean Patagonia.

I also have had the privilege to teach D.V.M. students, which has been a really enriching experience. As part of my teaching activity I was awarded the outstanding teaching assistant award in fall 2014.

I also have had the opportunity to be involved in educational campaigns on wildlife conservation issues in southern Chile. Despite the distance, I direct a commission of the Chilean Association of Wildlife Veterinarians in charge of the coordination on the study of unusual mortality events in wildlife and marine vertebrates strandings.

Current Employment:

Anatomic pathology resident in the veterinary pathology department

Family Ties to UGA:

Most of my family is in Chile. Although some relatives have had education in the U.S., they have studied in the Northeast. I’m the first family member to receive an education in the Southeast.

I chose to attend UGA because…

… I knew some UGA professors’ research, especially from the School of Ecology and the pathology department in the vet college. I also knew a few people who studied here and they said nice things about Athens and the pathology department. I think that those factors plus how receptive all people in the pathology department were when I needed additional information about the program made me decide to come to UGA.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

It is going to sound weird, but I love the time that I spend working the necropsy floor or reading histology slides from my research. Outside of work, I love going to Ramsey almost every day. When the weather is nice, the intramural fields and Lake Herrick are nice places to take a walk or just hang out.

When I have free time, I like…

… to practice martial arts (kung fu) and read something not related to my area of study. I also like playing guitar or just listening to music, and of course going downtown with friends once in a while.

The craziest thing I've done is…

… sail the Gulf of Corcovado in a little boat in the Chilean Patagonia. There was a big storm that day, but we really needed to get to our research site so we embarked with a group of fishermen who said that they could make it. Well, we almost did not. Today I think is just a fun story but I really thought that I would die that day.

My favorite place to study is…

I think it depends. When the weather is nice like in the fall and winter I like studying at the intramural fields or any other park. During the summer, the old vet college reading room is a nice and quite place to study.

My favorite professor is…

It is very difficult to say. Coming from a family of teachers, I admire and appreciate the work of all people who teach, so I have a profound respect for all of the pathologists in my department. Their diagnostics and teaching skills always surprise me and make me want to improve and learn more every day. But because I have to interact with them more often I think I can say that my academic adviser Dr. Nicole Gottdenker and our residency coordinator Dr. Buffy Howerth have had the strongest impact in my formation. They have been very supportive and I have learned so much from them.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

I would have to say that being so far from my family it would be them. Beyond that, I think I would love to witness a conversation between Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch and Rudolf Virchow. I think they are the fathers of modern medicine and in the case of Virchow the father of our discipline, pathology. I have always been amazed how this group of men transformed our knowledge and shaped their fields in a way that has not changed much over 100 years.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… develop a program to provide education to those who are not able to get access to it today, especially for children. I think education is the most important capital a person has and it really makes a difference in a society, especially education that is meant to enhance the best skills of human beings and favors cooperation instead of competition.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

… build a field research lab at Guafo Island, the place where I do my Ph.D. field work in the Chilean Patagonia. I think that place offers a unique opportunity to understand biological processes in nature, such as diseases, in a different way, incorporating from the molecular to the ecosystem level the interactions with the host pathogens and the environment.

After graduation, I plan to…

… build a field research lab at Guafo Island (haha). Well, maybe not right after graduation but some day. I think I would like to work in a place where I can keep doing the type of research that I’m currently involved with and also where I can keep learning about diseases from a comparative point of view.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

I hope that one is about to come (graduation maybe … haha), but so far I think I will always remember my first day at UGA. It was very special because I knew that a new step of my life was starting that day.

Published Sunday,