Visiting Extern: Sarah Macomber-Bouton

Image of Sarah Macomber-Bouton

During the month of October the Verocai lab hosted 4th year veterinary student Sarah Macomber-Bouton. Sarah plans to join a mixed animal practice once she graduates in May, but wanted to get a deeper insight into the world of Parasitology! Sarah submitted the following statement about her experience here in the Verocai lab.

“I am a 4th year from Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) and visiting the lab for my Public/Corporate rotation to learn more about Parasitology in the academic and diagnostic setting. I am planning to graduate in May of 2024 and return to the Brazos Valley to work as a mixed animal practioner. I also want to integrate parasitology into the practice I work at, in order to improve client knowledge and compliance, as well as spread public health awareness.

I really enjoyed my time here. Everyone is so passionate about Parasitology and the work they are doing. If you have questions or specific interests, they will do their best to answer or show you what you need. I definitely left with more knowledge than I started and feel more comfortable with the parasites, and the tests performed, that may come up in my future as a clinician.”

Happy Halloween! Some scary new papers!

At the Verocai Lab, one of our favorite holidays is Halloween because we get to talk about all the frightening (and cool) parasites that are out there. To celebrate, we have two new papers to pique your interest and give you chills!

The first paper is about Angiostrongylus cantonensis, or the rat lungworm. This is the first time that rat lungworm has been found in the state of Georgia and this is scary important news! The parasite causes a eosinophilic meningoencephalitis, which means that humans or other mammals may experience clinical signs similar to bacterial meningitis (e.g., nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, and headaches). However, in rare cases, more severe signs can be apparent, which makes this parasite quite a fright. Read more about our published collaboration and how this story is making national news!

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

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

Parasitic, Invasive Worm Found in Rats in Georgia

Worm that jumps from rats to human brains invades southeastern US

The second paper is about Spirocerca lupi, a parasite of dogs and wild canids that has the potential to cause esophageal nodules that can ultimately transform to neoplastic lesions (!). Read more about how the Verocai Lab and colleagues are trying to tease apart the geographic diversity of this important canid parasite.

Elucidating Spirocerca lupi spread in the Americas by using phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses

Happy Halloween Parasite Friends!

Welcome Tiana Sanders!

The Verocai Lab would like to welcome new incoming PhD graduate student Tiana Sanders! Tiana is from Catoosa, Oklahoma and earned her BSAG in Natural Resource Ecology and Management in 2019 and her DVM in 2023 from Oklahoma State University. During veterinary school Tiana found a passion for parasitology and decided her next step would be a residency/PhD with the Verocai lab! Tiana is being funded by the Merck Animal Health Residency Program with a focus on Dirofilaria immitis, the canine heartworm. Tiana is an active member of the American Association of Veterinary Parasitology and in her spare time enjoys kayaking, watching scary movies, and playing with her three cats, Tuffy, Winnie, and Ellie. 

Welcome the new veterinary students!

Please welcome our new 2023 summer veterinary students for VMSRTP (Veterinary Medical Scientist Research Training Program): Kelsey O’Hara, Carmen Volz, Diane Briceno, and Mary Schech (Left to Right). Check out their individual biographies on the team webpage to find out more about their individual research interests! We are excited for they are joining the Verocai lab!

If you are first or second year veterinary student and interested in joining our team through the VMSRTP, you can fill out a application at:

Texas Bison Association Conference 2023

Congratulations to Kaylee for giving a great talk at the Texas Bison Association (TBA) annual conference in Waco, Texas! Kaylee presented management strategies and how they relate to controlling parasite populations in ranched bison. She also wrote an article on the topic that was published in the TBA 2023 journal magazine! Great job, Kaylee!

To read Kaylee’s article in the 2023 TBA magazine, click the link below!

Texas Bison Association 2023 Journal Magazine

VMBS Research Trainee Symposium awards Verocai Lab Members!

Hassan Hakimi and Kaylee Kipp both entered the poster/oral competition at this year’s VMBS Research Trainee Symposium and both were awarded distinguished awards including: the People’s Choice for Best Flash Talk (Kaylee Kipp), and 3rd place best poster (Hassan Hakimi). Please join us in congratulating their hard work and great science communication skills! Great job guys!

Go ahead…Make my May!

It’s time to recognize again all the scientific contributions that the Verocai Lab has made this year thus far. Enjoy catching up on all these really interesting publications!

Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) in carnivores kept in zoos in Texas, USA: risk perception, practices, and antigen detection

Occurrence of Dirofilaria immitis infection in shelter cats in the lower Rio Grande Valley region in South Texas, United States, using integrated diagnostic approaches

Evaluation of a refugia-based strategy for gastrointestinal nematodes on weight gain and fecal egg counts in naturally infected stocker calves administered combination anthelmintics

The Role of Parasitoid Wasps, Ixodiphagus spp. (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), in Tick Control

Toxocara canis seropositivity in different exposure groups in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Northwest Pakistan

Spirometra infection in a captive Samar cobra (Naja samarensis) in the United States: An imported case?

Reverse sneezing, unilateral epistaxis, and acute-onset seizures in a 9-year-old spayed female miniature Dachshund

Comparison of 3 Diagnostic Tests for the Detection of Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp. in Asymptomatic Dogs (Canis lupis familiaris)

Congrats to all our 2023 award recipients!

The Verocai Lab swept the Grammys!….The Grammys of veterinary school at least! We are so very proud of all the members who received an award at this year’s VMBS Honors and Awards Ceremony:

Merck Parasitology Award: Hannah Danks & Veronica Negron

Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation Student Research Scholar Award: Cora Garcia

American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Award: Andrew Brown

Richard H. Davis Teaching Award: Guilherme Verocai

VMBS Excellence in Diversity Award: Meriam Saleh

Charles Dar-worm Day

Happy Darwin Day! The TAMU Parasitology Club and members of the awesome Criscione Lab had a great time interacting with the Texas A&M and College Station community. We had games, prizes, and, of course, the best parasite specimens you could ask for! Take a look through our photo album to see how much fun we had communicating science and parasitology to our wonderful community. We would also like to especially thank Jenna Hulke, Ryne Maness, and Chelsea Thorn for helping us put together this really cool event.

…By the way, did you know that Charles Darwin could have been infected by a parasite on his famous Beagle voyage!? Check it out!


We are thrilled to announce the launch of the AAVP Student Webinar Series: “We Are Veterinary Parasitologists”. These parasite-centric seminars are intended for the student chapters of AAVP (like our own AAVP TAMU Parasitology Club!) and all students who wish to be apart of AAVP. Our first talk will be from Dr. Jairo Alfonso Mendoza Roldan entitled, “Slithery Parasites: why and how to study zoonotic parasites of reptiles?”. See the images below for more information and, as always, check out the home page (scroll to bottom) for updates on your TAMU Parasitology Club and how to join for this (and more) great opportunities!