Welcome Pabasara and Likun!

The Verocai Lab would like to welcome new incoming postdoctoral researcher Pabasara and our new lab manager Likun! We are very excited to have each of them joining our lab.

Pabasara is from Badulla, Sri Lanka, and earned her Bachelor of Science in Zoology (2014) and Master of Science in Food Science and Technology (2017) from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka. She then joined Oklahoma State University in 2018 to pursue her PhD, where she became a part of the CATS lab in the College of Veterinary Medicine, working on Cytauxzoonosis. During this time, she developed a strong passion for studying host-parasite interactions and molecular diagnostic techniques. Upon completing her PhD in 2023, she accepted a postdoc position in the Verocai lab to work on a project that focuses on Dracunculus medinensis diagnostic markers. In her free time, Pabasara enjoys traveling and cooking.

Likun is from Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India and earned her doctoral degree in the field of food science and technology from University Laval, Quebec, Canada. She also worked as a research associate in the food science department of University Laval. After moving to college station, she got an opportunity to work for the same post with the Verocai Lab. In her spare time enjoys listening to music, dancing and spending time and playing with her little munchkin Nivaan.

We are thrilled to welcome two industrious and committed members to our team!

Verocai Lab is in the news!!

Happy New Year! We are excited to share a recent Verocai Lab publication that has drawn considerable public interest (see below). The article features the “rat lungworm”, or Angiostrongylus cantonensis, and how it has spread across the southeastern United States. These new details are significant to both human and animal health because of the parasite’s ability to migrate to the brain or spinal cord region! In addition to news articles, Dr. Guilherme Verocai was also featured in a CDC podcast to further discuss these findings. Please make sure to check it out to learn more about the parasite’s history, life-cycle, clinical picture, impact on public health, and what scientists are doing about it!

Angiostrongylus cantonensis Infection in Brown Rats (Rattus norvegicus), Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 2019–2022

Parasitic Brain Worm Spreading Across Southeastern U.S., Scientists Warn

Rat-Borne Parasite That Can Cause Brain Disease Spreading in Southern U.S.

Listen to Dr. Verocai’s interview on the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Disease Podcast! (also available on other podcast providers like Apple and Spotify)


Gottdenker NL, Nascimento Ramos R, Hakimi H, McHale B, Rivera S, Miller BM, et al. Angiostrongylus cantonensis Infection in Brown Rats (Rattus norvegicus), Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 2019–2022. Emerg Infect Dis. 2023;29(10):2167-2170. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2910.230706