Alumni Ambassadors

Jeffrey H. Withey

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

Jeffery is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology. His research focuses on cholera, a severe diarrheal disease that affects 3-5 million people annually. Specifically, he is investigating interactions between Vibrio cholerae bacteria (the cholera pathogen) and human or animal hosts, especially fish, which are natural hosts in the aquatic environment. He has also studied the regulation of V. cholerae virulence for many years. Additionally, he teaches various topics in bacterial pathogenesis and infectious diseases to graduate and medical students. He is the graduate officer for his department and serve on numerous other university and departmental committees. Externally, he is 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 his Fulbright was to teach Indian scientists about a new cholera model he had developed in zebrafish, a small fish species native to India that is very useful for studying many different biological problems. He was based at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata, India. His 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 also developed new zebrafish models for Salmonella and Shigella. They have published 5 scientific papers to date and have ongoing collaborations- in fact he returns to India every year to continue their 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