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Meet the Team

Samarchith Kurup DVM, PhD
Principal Investigator

Sam earned his degree in veterinary medicine from the Kerala Agricultural University in India and his Masters degree in parasitology from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute. He then moved to the United States, to do his PhD in Cellular Biology at the University of Georgia, where he studied the immunology of Trypanosoma cruzi with Dr. Rick Tarleton. Sam later went to the University of Iowa for his postdoctoral training with Dr. John Harty, where he found his passion of studying host immune responses in malaria. Sam established his own research group at the University of Georgia's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Disease in 2019, where he continues the research on malaria immunology. 


Outside of the lab, Sam enjoys playing badminton and spending time with his lovely wife and their two beautiful girls. He also holds a Black Belt in Kukkiwon Taekwondo and is a former intercollegiate and state champion. 

Camila Silva, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Camila joined our lab as a postdoc in January 2020, moving all they way from Brazil. She received both her Masters degree in Biomedical Sciences and her PhD in Biophysics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Camila did some post-doctoral work at the University of California Merced. She looks forward to bringing her previous experience with other tropical parasites to the field of malaria.

Outside of the lab, Camila is involved in scientific communication and the fight against science-related fake news in Brazil. She also likes to read novels and watch thrillers. Camila is happily married to an Environmental Engineer and mother to a cheerful, energetic girl. 

Nana Appiah Essel Charles-Chess, MPhil
Graduate Research Assistant

Chess is a PhD candidate in our lab. He is originally from Ghana, where he earned a Master's degree in Molecular Cell Biology of Infectious Diseases. Having had first-hand experience with the havoc caused by malaria in his community, Chess hopes his training in the Kurup lab will ultimately help those affected by malaria. 

Outside the lab, Chess enjoys jogging, sightseeing, listening to opera, and geopolitics.

Clyde Schmidt-Silva
Graduate Research Assistant  

Clyde joined our lab in Spring 2022. He is a third-year graduate student that found our lab following his Fall 2021 Rotation through the Integrated Life Science Program and became very interested in the work he participated in during his rotation. Clyde received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Georgia. During his time as an undergraduate, Clyde had experience studying intracellular bacteria and host-pathogen interactions which he hopes will help further our research in the Kurup lab and the understanding of malaria’s interaction with its’ host cells.

When not in lab, Clyde enjoys watching movies, maintaining his aquariums, and playing video games.

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Carson Bowers 
Laboratory Manager 

Carson joined our lab in July 2021. He earned his Master’s degree in entomology from the University of Georgia where he studied trophic interactions in agricultural systems.  Carson brings his experience with molecular ecology and his passion for research to the Kurup lab, and hopes to help improve our understanding of malaria immunology. 

Outside of the lab, Carson enjoys spending time with his fiancée, walking with his dog, and reading science fiction and fantasy books. 

Alex Garrot 
Undergraduate student 

Alex joined the lab in January of 2023. He is a third-year Cellular Biology major on the pre-med track and is passionate about research in infectious disease.


Outside of academics, he is involved at the University of Georgia Catholic Center where he leads a freshman formation small group and is a student director of music for multiple other ministries. For fun, Alex loves to run, fly-fish, play guitar, and sing. 

Cristina Samuel 
Undergraduate student 

Cristina joined our lab in January 2023. She is currently a third-year undergraduate student studying Biology and Biomedical Physiology at the University of Georgia. Cristina brings her dedication to alleviate the malaria burden as she's seen in Southeast Asia, as well as passion for research to the Kurup Lab, which she hopes will encourage and solidify our knowledge of malaria.


Outside of the lab, Cristina enjoys being with her dog and listening to podcasts. She also enjoys playing instruments and traveling.

Mariajose (MJ) Bayona
Undergraduate student 

Mariajose (MJ) Bayona is a second-year majoring in Biology and Psychology on the Pre-Medicine Track. Through Kurup Lab she hopes to learn more about life-altering infectious deseases such as Malaria and one day combine her knowledge with her passion for serving others as a doctor.


Outside of her academics, she is involved in the UGA Catholic Center where she leads an adoration, praise and worship ministry called Seeking Water. She also loves playing pickleball, reading, traveling, and of course, spending time with her family and friends. 

David Jin
Undergraduate student 

David joined the lab in March of 2024. He is currently a first year cellular biology major as a pre-med student at the University of Georgia. In Kurup Lab he wishes to learn more about the intricacies of the immune response to one day use that knowledge to deliver the best care he can as a doctor.


Outside of school and the lab he enjoys photography, videography, and playing hockey. 

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