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Our Team

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Meet the people responsible for innovations in the Pitesky Lab!


Maurice Pitesky, D.V.M., MPVM, Dipl., ACVPM

Maurice Pitesky is a faculty member at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine-Cooperative Extension (UCCE) with an appointment in poultry health and food safety epidemiology. Pitesky’s research interests are focused in three major areas: 1) GIS based mapping/modeling to understand how avian diseases move in time and space.  2) novel data analysis and visualization tools to gain insights into poultry production and food safety and 3)  gaining a better understanding of non-conventional commercial poultry production.
International areas of interest: SE Asia, East Africa 


Todd Kelman, DVM, MPVM
Todd Kelman is currently an Associate Specialist in the Maurice Pitesky lab within the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis.  He initially graduated with a degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Texas, Austin and spent several years developing biomedical devices.  He then obtained his DVM from UC Davis in 2008 and an MPVM the following year, with a specific interest in infectious disease epidemiology, especially for underserved populations.  He works on numerous projects in the Pitesky lab, including mapping of Avian Influenza transmission risk through remote sensing, analysis and modeling of toxins within eggs of backyard poultry, and a USDA supported program to teach husbandry, housing, and biosecurity to beginning poultry farmers.


Sarai Acosta

Sarai, our senior Junior Specialist, is a recent UC Davis graduate with a B.S. in Global Disease Biology. Being of Panamanian descent, she strives to be an applied scientist with a major focus on poverty alleviation around the globe. She currently works on several projects including remote sensing of waterfowl, antimicrobial resistance, implementation of poultry in crop rotational systems, as well as poultry production in both Nepal and Uganda. She is a team leader who loves being in the lab and in the field.
Languages: English, Spanish, Basic French comprehension  


Macie Tanaka

Macie works as a Junior specialist in the Pitesky Lab. She is a UC Davis alum with a B.S. in Animal Science and a minor in Statistics. A lover of all animals, Macie enjoys getting her hands dirty working with a range of species including Amazon parrots and dairy goats. She has an interest in food safety and farmer outreach. Her current projects include: beginning farmer/rancher outreach, antimicrobial resistance surveillance, and addition of poultry into rotational crop systems.


Odette Clamp
Odette is our new Junior Specialist and a recent graduate from UC Davis. She received a B.S. in Global Disease Biology and minored in both Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology and Art History. She is currently working on several projects including a study on antimicrobial resistance in backyard poultry, mapping of virulent Newcastle Disease in Southern California, as well as engaging in community outreach. She looks forward to continuing her studies in epidemiology, with a focus on zoonotic diseases. 


Myrna Cadena

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Myrna is a PhD student in the Animal Biology Graduate Group at UC Davis, where she earned her BS in Animal Science and MS in Avian Sciences. Currently she is using computational social science tools such as network analysis for network-smart outreach and eventually disease modeling. Her goal is to combine her interests in animal health, epidemiology and social science in preparation for a career in applied agricultural sciences focused on research and outreach to underserved communities. Specifically, Myrna hopes to serve and be an advocate for conventional poultry producers and two underserved groups – backyard and small-scale commercial poultry owners, especially those who are Spanish-speaking – as a poultry farm advisor and food safety epidemiologist.


Alec Michael
Alec is a PhD student in the Graduate Group in Epidemiology at UC Davis, currently focusing on mathematical modeling of virulent Newcastle Disease and antimicrobial resistance. He obtained a B.S. in Microbiology from UC Davis, where he studied mechanisms of debris clearing from the developing murine optic nerve. He hopes to combine his interests in public health and data science to improve outbreak preparedness and develop models of infectious disease.


Shayne Ramsubeik, DVM (2009), MBA (2015)

Shayne is a Trinidadian veterinarian who has been working in the poultry sector for the last ten years. His area of focus has been broiler meat production and has functioned at different capacities and managerial positions within integrated poultry operations. Shayne’s desire is to study the spatial and temporal disease patterns of infectious poultry diseases in California and risk factors associated with these diseases so as to develop prevention and control programs. Currently perusing a masters in preventive medicine at UC Davis, with a project focused on Mycoplasma infection in turkeys.
Professional interests: Poultry infectious disease and food safety.
Vision: To acquire the skills, training and experience necessary to become a subject matter leader in the field of preventive veterinary medicine, epidemiology and food safety with a special focus on poultry.





Our Current Interns:


Graciela Chong

Graciela Chong, our undergraduate intern, is a third-year student majoring in Animal Science at UC Davis. She is currently helping with administrative work in the lab. On the side, she is also a transit bus driver for Unitrans and a board member for the Central American, South American, and Carribean Student Alliance (CENSOCA) club on campus.  She is also fluent in both English and Spanish.  





Jeselle-Ann Laxa

Jeselle, our undergraduate intern, is in her third year of her B.S. in Microbiology with a minor in Global Disease Biology. Inspired by her volunteer work with pets in low income areas, she hopes to join the epidemiology field in order to predict and prevent the spread of disease in companion, shelter, and stray animals. She will be working with projects about crop and poultry rotation, heavy metal composition in eggs, and avian influenza in swamplands. She is enthusiastic about research and animal care, and she loves chickens, dogs, and microbes.
Languages: English, Basic Spanish




Katherine Ramirez

Kathy is a graduating senior at UC Davis studying for a degree in Animal Biology with a minor in Spanish. Kathy is a lab intern that helps out with various projects around the lab. She is interested in learning about the epidemiology of infectious animal diseases.