Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation Award

Christina Welch and Madison FaganChristina Welch and Madison Fagan

Christina Welch is the recipient of the James B. Russell Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation Award.

Christina Welch is an integral member of the University of Georgia Department of Animal and Dairy Science’s microbiology team. She is currently in the second year of her doctoral program after completing her M.S. in Animal and Dairy Science in 2020. Her thesis research focused on the differences in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) microbiota of beef cattle that have been genetically selected for feed efficiency.

During her time at UGA, she has published five peer-reviewed manuscripts, has 4 in review, and three submitted, along with twelve scientific abstracts, four popular press articles, and five scientific presentations. While maintaining her roots in the cattle industry during her Ph.D., Welch has begun to collaborate with the West Lab to elucidate the GIT microbiome’s role in recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI) to eventually develop novel microbial therapeutics for TBIs. Welch’s dedication to microbiology and academia led her to receive one of the most impressive achievements in the gut microbiome world.

The seventy-first meeting of the Congress on Gastrointestinal Function (CGIF) commenced on April 11, 2022. CGIF is a biennial conference that provides academic and industry scientists the opportunity to present novel research findings in gastrointestinal microbiology, (immuno)physiology, and nutritional sciences. At this premier gut microbiology conference in the world, Welch received the James B. Russell Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation Award for her presentation, “Fecal matter transplantation restores the gastrointestinal microbial populations following a traumatic brain injury in a pediatric porcine model.” This award is voted on by the CGIF committee members from universities all over the world, and Welch was the top-rated podium presentation by all graduate students. The James B. Russell Award is an accomplishment for young scientists because the award is dedicated to graduate students who exemplify excellence in conducting and presenting microbiology-based research. Help us to congratulate Ms. Welch on this exceptional award!