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Carlotta Pasetto

Qualifications 

Degree in Veterinary Science

MSc One Health and Zoonoses

Position 

PhD candidate

Research overview

I am a PhD candidate working with Dr. Oscar Cabezón and Dr. Jaime Martinez Urtaza. My study investigates the virome of bat populations using metagenomic approaches, to estimate spillover
and disease emergence risk linked to anthropogenic interference and degradation of natural ecosystems. In a broader sense, I'm working on different projects related to bat health and conservation, as well as collaborating with the other research lines of the group.

Background

Since the beginning of my studies, I started to focus on wildlife medicine and conservation. Combining it with my passion for travel, I did volunteer placements in wildlife rescue centres in South Africa and the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. This gave me a good early insight into conservation work, environmental education, and ethics. As a student, I realized more vet-focused internships in Italian rehabilitation centres and participated in conferences and courses on wildlife medicine, biology and conservation. Likewise, during my Erasmus year at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, I chose to attend the elective course on marine wildlife health and pathology.


Finally, thanks to an initiative promoted by my University in Bologna, I was given the chance to realize an internship with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, an NGO working on wildlife conservation in Malawi. For 4 months I’ve been working intensively on my degree thesis, which was an epidemiological investigation of tick-borne diseases at wildlife-livestock and environmental interfaces. During my time at LWT, I was regularly joining the clinical activities of the centre, gaining practice in prophylactic medicine, parasitology, and necropsies in primates, reptiles, felids, and pangolins. Moreover, I was lucky enough to participate in fieldwork expeditions and wildlife translocation operations led by African Parks. I was introduced to large mammals’ immobilization
and anesthesia, camera trap surveys, vulture capture and tagging, telemetry, and VHS radio tracking.

In March 2022, I obtained my degree in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Bologna, Italy. Shortly after graduation, I came to Spain to realize laboratory and clinical practicals in the wildlife hospital of GREFA, Madrid. As a veterinarian, I also spent a short period as a research assistant for a project on oncilla movement ecology in Costa Rica.


Overall, during my study years, I visualized my interests in research, epidemiology, and infectious diseases, further acknowledging the interconnectedness between animals, ecosystems, and humans. Moved by the enthusiasm for expanding my knowledge and applying this multidisciplinary approach to wildlife disease processes, I enrolled in the MSc in One Heath and Zoonoses at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. I developed my master thesis with WildCoM research group, investigating respiratory bacterial pathogens in Chiroptera, the research line on which I’m currently working as a PhD candidate.

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