Merck Animal Health Forms Research Fellowship with Gluck Equine Research Center at University of Kentucky

Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (NYSE:MRK), is pleased to announce a new partnership with the University of Kentucky‘s Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center. The two-year Merck Equine Research Fellowship will support research fellow Izabela De Assis Rocha, BVM, PhD candidate, in her study of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) and Sarcocystis neurona.

“The Gluck Equine Research Center is a preeminent leader in equine health and scientific advancement, and we are thrilled to bolster our relationship through this new research fellowship,” said Wendy Vaala, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM, director of strategic development and innovation, companion animal and equine, Merck Animal Health. “EPM is a disease of particular interest and passion for our equine team, and Dr. Rocha’s work is nothing short of outstanding. We look forward to following her research as she continues to unravel the mysteries surrounding EPM and its primary causative agent, S. neurona.”

Dr. Rocha says she has been fascinated by all topics related to the nervous systems of animals and humans since her earlier years in veterinary school.

“During my residency in equine medicine, I was able to appreciate how little we know about the neurologic diseases of horses compared with other disorders, such as colic and lameness,” Dr. Rocha says. “Moreover, I had a very challenging EPM case that led me to the conclusion that the answers we needed in equine neurology would mostly likely come from fundamental and translational research than from clinical practice alone.”

Initial funding of the Merck Equine Research Fellowship is $30,000 per year for a minimum of two years beginning in 2022.The fellowship ensures the continuation of equine research, which is vital to creating attractive learning opportunities to safeguard the future of equine health and research.

“I feel honored to be awarded this fellowship,” Dr. Rocha said. “I see it as a celebration of joint efforts between academia and industry to advance the field of equine medicine and the training of the future generation of scientists.”

The Gluck research fellowship underscores Merck Animal Health’s continued unconditional commitment to the next generation of equine researchers and practitioners. Another example of Merck Animal Health’s student support is the provision of $25,000 in scholarships for veterinary students intent on pursuing careers in equine medicine. Five outstanding students set to graduate in 2023 from veterinary schools across the country each received a $5,000 Merck Animal Health Scholarship awarded by The Foundation for the Horse in December 2021.

About Merck Animal Health
For 130 years, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Through its commitment to The Science of Healthier Animals®, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services as well as an extensive suite of digitally connected identification, traceability and monitoring products. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit and connect with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 About the Gluck Equine Research Center
The mission of the Gluck Center, a UK Ag Equine program in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Department of Veterinary Science, is scientific discovery, education and dissemination of knowledge to benefit the health and well-being of horses. The Gluck Center faculty conducts equine research in seven targeted areas: genetics and genomics, immunology, infectious diseases, musculoskeletal science, parasitology, pharmacology/toxicology and reproductive health. Their continuing efforts build upon a tradition of excellence in equine research dating back to 1915. For more information on the Gluck Center, visit

Contact: Holly Wiemers
UK Ag Equine Programs

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