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May 25, 2021

Animal Science professor receives Fulbright grant

A Berry College faculty member has been awarded an international research grant to study pathogen-susceptible genes of native chicken breeds in India. 

Associate Professor of Animal Science Sunday Peters is a 2021 Fulbright grant recipient, a prestigious research fellowship that will allow him to take his research abroad. The grant will allow Peters in 2022 to spend a semester in India, researching and characterizing interferon-inducible transmembrane proteins in native chickens. 

Recent evidence has revealed that a family of proteins restricts the entry processes and replication of several highly pathogenic human and animal viruses. However, there is limited data available about the sequence diversity of these genes, their expression profiles, or the role they may play in restricting avian viral pathogens across the world.

The goal of Peters’ research is to attempt to fill this gap in knowledge, with the hopes of continuing his previous research in molecular characterization in poultry and ruminants. India has a repository of poultry breeds distributed amongst different agro-climatic conditions, increasing potential for genetic adaptations.

“This huge diversity [of breeds] creates a unique gene pool in which rare genetic variants can be found and exploited for genetic improvement and vaccine production which may not easily be found elsewhere,” Peters said.

Peters received his B.S., M.S., and Ph. D. from the University of Agriculture in Nigeria, as well as an additional Ph.D. from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M. Peters’ teaching interests includes genetics of domestic animals, international agriculture, swine and poultry systems and management.

“My work in teaching, research, student mentoring and service within the Berry community has prepared me for research abroad,” Peters said. “Those opportunities helped to improve my communication and people skills, and I believe these will come in handy when conducting my research.”

Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. They include 60 Nobel Laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize winners, 75 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors. Applicants must demonstrate how the research will benefit the United States, as well as their host country.

To learn more about the animal science program at Berry, visit

Written by Public Relations Assistant Faythe Choate

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