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 spending time with his lovely wife and their two beautiful girls.

Kristen Peissig, MS
Lab Manager

Kristen earned both her undergraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and her Masters degree in Genetics at the University of Georgia. Loving Athens so much, she was excited about continuing to do research at UGA, especially in a lab where she feels she can make a difference.


Outside of the lab, she loves to spend time with her husband and 4 dogs and bake delicious sweet treats. 

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 first year graduate student 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.

Hiyab Menasie
Undergraduate Researcher

Hiyab joined our lab in Spring 2020. She is currently studying Cellular Biology here at the University of Georgia and hopes to go into dentistry. Hiyab has always wanted to serve those who are less fortunate and believes that researching malaria is a good way to do this. 

Outside the lab, Hiyab enjoys spending time with her friends and family, playing tennis, and going on new adventures.

Contact Us

Phone: (706)-542-7351 (PI)

            (706)-542-4140 (Lab)

Email: (PI)