Alumni Ambassadors

Jeffrey H. Withey

Jeffrey H. Withey
Job title
Academic year
October 2014 - March 2015
Establishing the Zebrafish Model for Cholera in India

I’m a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology. My research focuses on cholera, a severe diarrheal disease that affects 3-5 million people annually. Specifically, we are investigating interactions between Vibrio cholerae bacteria (the cholera pathogen) and human or animal hosts, especially fish, which are natural hosts in the aquatic environment. We have also studied the regulation of V. cholerae virulence for many years. Additionally, I teach various topics in bacterial pathogenesis and infectious diseases to graduate and medical students. I am the graduate officer for my department and serve on numerous other university and departmental committees. Externally, I am on the editorial boards of four scientific journals and frequently serve as a reviewer for NIH grants and other funding mechanisms, including Fulbright.

The goal of my Fulbright was to teach Indian scientists about a new cholera model we had developed in zebrafish, a small fish species native to India that is very useful for studying many different biological problems. I was based at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata, India. My host lab had great expertise in using many different animal species for studying intestinal pathogens but had never before worked with fish. They gained the ability to use this new model for cholera, and together we also developed new zebrafish models for Salmonella and Shigella. We have published 5 scientific papers to date and have ongoing collaborations- in fact I return to India every year to continue our work.

Ask Me About:

  • Being a “minority” (as a white person) abroad
  • The value of sabbaticals in science generally
  • Living in a developing country and how it differs from just visiting
  • Concerns about staying healthy in a developing country
  • How much more you will gain outside of the planned Fulbright work- culturally, intellectually, etc.
  • How to balance being away from work/family for months at a time