By Molly Feltner, MGVP Communications Officer

Thanks to the USAID PREDICT grant awarded to the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, MGVP has been able to hire 2 new African veterinarians, Dr. Rachael Mbabazi and Dr. Olivier Nsengimana. Both will be serving as field assistants for the PREDICT program, with Dr. Rachael working under Dr. Benard Ssebide in Uganda and Dr. Olivier working under Dr. Julius Nziza in Rwanda. The goal of PREDICT is to identify the emergence of new infectious diseases in wildlife that could pose a major threat to human health.

Dr. RachaelIn 2010, Rachael graduated from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, with a degree in veterinary medicine. As a student she worked with Dr. John Bosco Nizeyi, MGVP’s research veterinarian and a professor in Makerere’s Wild Animal Resource Management Department. The Morris Animal Foundation selected Rachel to be one of their 2010 Veterinary Student Scholars and provided funding for her to research gastrointestinal parasites in mountain gorillas.

Dr. Olivier (third from the right) doing field work near Volcanoes National Park.This past March, Olivier, a native of Gitarama, Rwanda, graduated from the Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry ISAE- Rwanda with his veterinary medicine degree. In early 2010, Olivier interned with MGVP, working to develop a management plan for the dairy farm at Imbabazi Orphanage. Later in the year, he volunteered for the PREDICT project, taking blood samples from rodents around Volcanoes National Park to be analyzed for infectious disease. He was hired shortly thereafter.

MGVP is very lucky to have these rising stars as part of the Gorilla Doctors team!