Associate professor Sheba MohanKumar studies the interaction between the immune, nervous and endocrine systems, and her research has implications for both human and animal health.
Where did you earn your degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I received my B.V.Sc. (equivalent to D.V.M.) degree from Madras Veterinary College in India. I completed a master’s degree and a Ph.D. at Kansas State University. At UGA, I am currently an associate professor in the department of Veterinary Biosciences and Diagnostic Imaging in the College of Veterinary Medicine. I teach histology to freshmen in the D.V.M. program, co-direct an online pre-veterinary anatomy course and direct a student exchange program between UGA and Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in India.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I came to UGA in 2015. The collaborative atmosphere, beautiful campus and opportunity to contribute and grow are some key factors that drew me to UGA. Also, Athens is just an awesome town.
What are your favorite courses and why?
I love the veterinary histology course that I teach. I enjoyed learning histology as a student and I love teaching it to D.V.M. students. The more I learn, the more I am fascinated with how intelligently cells and tissues function.
What interests you about your field?
My field of research is neuro-immunoendocrinology. It is a cool field that is exciting and growing rapidly in different directions. There are so many things to learn and discover that might impact human and animal health one day. In our lab, we are studying how the brain uses immune molecules to promote stress and chronic disorders such as obesity and hypertension.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
Developing an online course in anatomy for pre-veterinary students. I also traveled with an amazing group of veterinary students to India this summer and visited the 7,000-year-old ruins of a city belonging to the Indus Valley civilization.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
I strongly believe that if you are a good teacher, you will be good at research. Both teaching and research are creative activities. You have to be really creative in telling a story in order to be successful at both.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
Learning and testing have to be fun for students. I hope the students feel that I listen to their questions, understand them when they are confused, explain things clearly so they are satisfied with their learning experience.
Describe your ideal student.
My ideal student is happy, excited to learn, curious, engaged, disciplined and does not shy away from hard work.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
I love visiting the Trial Gardens at UGA. I also enjoy having coffee over lab meetings at the Science Learning Center.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
… travel all over the world, walk, read and garden. I also enjoy singing, painting (watercolors) and hanging out with my family.
Community/civic involvement includes….
I love to support education and have my own small fund to contribute toward the tuition of needy students in India. A little goes a long way there. We also host visiting students and scientists from India.
Favorite book/movie (and why)?
I enjoy reading children’s books, and Newbery Award winners in particular. They always have something inspiring in them. My favorite movie is “Gandhi” by Richard Attenborough. I am inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s relentless pursuit of his dream for freedom.