Texas Tech University

Infectious Disease Expert Joins Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine

George Watson

July 8, 2020

Mariposa Station

Ashutosh Verma will serve as an associate professor of microbiology.

The faculty, staff and students who walk through the doors of the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo next fall will do so as groundbreaking participants in the first veterinary school in Texas in 100 years. They will be the first to experience the innovative curriculum, to perform trailblazing research under the school's banner, and, as the school's initial ambassadors, they will need a pioneering spirit and plenty of West Texas grit.

So, it helps to have faculty on board who have extensive experience instituting new research and curriculum programs in a veterinary school setting as well as being exceptional educators. Ashutosh Verma is one such faculty member.

An expert in infectious diseases, Verma will pass on his knowledge of veterinary biology to the students in the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine as an associate professor of microbiology. He began his duties on July 1.

Ashutosh Verma

"I am very excited to join this distinguished group of people at the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine and look forward to working and collaborating with them," Verma said.

Verma has spent the last five years on the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, where he was instrumental in establishing the college's research program and developing the infectious disease and immunology curriculum.

His research interests include bacterial pathogenesis, host responses, development of novel diagnostic testing and the ecology of infectious diseases.

Since 2017, Verma also has served as an adjunct assistant professor in the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky.

Prior to arriving at Lincoln Memorial, Verma was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Kentucky until 2012, when he became an assistant professor at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. From there, he spent a year as a research assistant at the Trudeau Institute in New York state.

"Dr. Verma brings a wealth of expertise to our new and exciting school. Most of all, he brings an understanding of what it takes to develop and deliver a program for the first time," said Guy Loneragan, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. "He is joining a great group of researchers who span microbiology, immunology and vaccinology. As a team, their research will benefit our animal industries in West Texas for years to come."

Verma earned his bachelor's degree in veterinary science and animal husbandry from the College of Veterinary Science in Hisar, India, in 1998, then earned his master's degree in animal biotechnology from the Madras Veterinary College in Chennai, India.

He came to the U.S. to continue his education and earned his doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky, where he helped explain the pathogenic mechanisms of important bacterial diseases.

"I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Verma in the past at two different institutions," said John Dascanio, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs in the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine. "He gives of his expertise in helping others to succeed in their research, using his knowledge and skills to mentor faculty and students to explore their ideas. He has a special interest in infectious diseases, having focused on Leptospirosis, a devastating organism that may lead to blindness in horses and health problems across many species, including humans. He brings a great collaborative spirit to our program."

Verma becomes the 19th faculty member for the School of Veterinary Medicine. Those already on the faculty are:

Additional faculty members will be added over the summer and fall.

About the School of Veterinary Medicine

Thanks to the generosity of Amarillo and communities across Texas, and the commitment of legislators from around the state, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, established in 2018, is working to enroll its first class in the fall of 2021, pending approval by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education.

The School of Veterinary Medicine will recruit and select students with a passion to practice and succeed in rural and regional communities. Its curriculum is focused on the competencies and skills necessary for success in practices that support these communities. Texas Tech's innovative and cost-efficient model partners with the wider community of veterinary practices across the state to provide clinical, real-world experiential learning.

In June 2019, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the biennial state budget, which appropriated $17.35 million for the School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo that will go toward operational needs in order to get the school up and running. The appropriation included language directing Texas Tech to move forward in establishing the school.