At an early age, I developed my interest in marine
life and decided to be a biology scholar. Over ten years, as a hobby, I have
cultured cold-water species, and tropical water species. Through this, I was
able to maintain fish under adequate water condition and observed their behavior
under different stress factors. Furthermore, I acquaint myself with their
biology and this has enhanced my knowledge about aquatic life.


During outbreaks, I gained a strong
interest in diseases as I monitored behavioral interactions between fish and
their pathogen agents. This offered me essential information about how should
assess the clinical signs observed in an animal and diagnose the problem.
Afterwards, I would often read up on how different pathogens interact with
animals, how immune system response to disease and how possibly the pathogen
can occurred again. Additionally, I kept myself updated with new inventions
about different kinds of treatments to cure diseases. As an undergraduate
student, I majored in microbiology at Umm-al Qura University at Saudi Arabia.
Through lectures and practical work, my interest towards aquatic pathobiology
grew significantly. I learned a lot about different kinds of pathogens and how
they react depending on the condition of the water quality, nutrients level,
suspended solids, oxygen level, temperature, salinity and pH. At this point, I focused
to specialize in marine microbiology and wanted to further my knowledge by
learning molecular techniques that would maintain the health of an animal.


I decided to further my education at
the University of Miami, majoring in aquaculture. In University of Miami
Experimental Hatchery (UMEH), I was honored to work under dr. Daniel Benetti
supervision and my experience and knowledge has been enriched ever since. I
gained massive knowledge about high market value species such as Cobia,
Mahi-mahi, Florida pompano, Nassau grouper and Japanese flounder. Working on my
project, I learned the advantages and disadvantages of multiple systems,
including RAS and flow-through. I observed all portions of the life cycle from
spawning, larval rearing, weaning and broodstock. In all life stages, disease
is a constant factor. It is able to infiltrate any system and must be addressed
accordingly. I did my thesis on Vibriosis and how they transmitted by live
feeds prior to feed larval rearing where huge mortalities occurred. I tested
two antibiotics namely Tobramycin and Minocycline on vibrio species. Sadly,
different strains of the bacteria have the potential to break down the
antibiotics and gained resistance. At this point, I realized the importance of
using molecular techniques and using recombinant plasmids for bacteria and
recombinant vaccines for viruses.


Those experiences behind as I enjoyed my time during undergraduate
and graduate studies has motivated me to apply at University of Maryland
Baltimore County (UMBC). I know first-hand how good the staff and facilities
are and the Institute of IMET is one of the most reputable and respected
institutes of its kind and it would be an honor to continue on to postgraduate
study there.


I feel that previous experiences have provided me the skills
and abilities necessary for postgraduate study. I am very dedicated and
prepared to put time into the research work as well as my project. I am
confident I can express such commitment and time management in this project as
I do in everyday life. In my previous
work, I have found I can work equally well in both team and individual
environments. I am also responsible and can work in a leadership role, which I
feel is advantageous for postgraduate study. I am happy to take initiative and
get work done without avoiding my responsibilities. 


I'm Katy!

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