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Dr. Swapna Bhat

Where did you go to school?

I came to the U.S. with a Master's degree in microbiology from the Maharaja Sayaji Rao University of Baroda, India.  I completed my Ph.D. in Microbiology from The University of Georgia.

What brought you to UNG?

I had just finished my post-doc and decided to volunteer at UNG with Dr. Jeanelle Morgan. I loved the small class size, my interactions with students and the biology department in general. I joined as a limited-term faculty in Spring 2014 and eventually got converted to a tenure track position.

What do you research? What do your students do in your research? Why did you choose that field?

I pursued the field of microbiology because I enjoy exploring and understanding the microbial world. As a mentor, I try to create a research environment where students develop logical thinking habits and independent learning. This includes reading literature, evaluating data, troubleshooting and ultimately synthesizing conclusions.

One of the projects that I am currently involved in is the identification of multi-drug resistant bacteria in various water reservoirs in the Hall County area. Our broad question is: are these drug-resistant bacteria native to our region or are our industries, farms and hospitals causing a selection of these type of bacteria by releasing significant antibiotic containing waste.

Our students are surveying (both qualitatively and quantitatively) the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant enterobacteria, which are members of the gut microbiota of warm-blooded animals. The project involves collecting samples, isolating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and analysis of resistance genes.


What is your favorite part of your job?

My proudest moment as a teacher/mentor is watching my students answer audience questions confidently at a conference or mentoring their peers in the lab or seeing their eyes light up when they understand a concept in the class. In short, the best part of my job is watching my students grow intellectually.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Balancing the class to fulfill the need of students with varying aptitudes.

What advice do you have for students?

  1. Work hard and do your best
  2. Take care of yourself (exercise, eat right, and sleep well)
  3. Ask for help (but be polite)
  4. Make sure you are chasing your dreams and not someone else’s.

What is your favorite movie/genre?

Lord of the Rings. I love the fantasy genre!

Dr. Swapna Bhat with a student in lab

Dr. Swapna Bhat examing petri dish with student

Here is a picture of Tyler Henderson and Makenzie Llewellyn next to presentation "Quantification of ESBLs & Coliforms in a Stream in Hall Country, Georgia" that was advised by Dr. Swapna Bhat and M. Flood.

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