A rising star in innovative forest pathogen diagnostics

May 22, 2024

Vinni Thekkudan Novi, PhD '24 Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, charts a path after completing her doctorate.

Vinni in lab

Poised to make significant contributions to her field, Vinni Thekkudan Novi, PhD '24 Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering (BBE), garnered early career attention and recognition for a newly patented testing method she helped develop for rapid and early oak wilt detection: Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification, or LAMP testing. While in her PhD program, she applied her vast wealth of expertise to tree conservation in Minnesota. She worked in the Abbas Lab on diagnostics for early detection and prevention of diseases, a research project supported by MITPPC through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. 

She graduated from CFANS this spring and now works as a postdoctoral fellow at the USDA APHIS' National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. “Here, my role is to work on improving some existing serological diagnostic tests for animal diseases, specifically in cattle and equine hosts” she says. Eventually, she hopes to move into the industry, working for a company where she can do more diagnostic test development and validation.

“What I learned at the University of Minnesota is the power of communication and the importance of asking for help when needed,” says Thekkudan Novi. “Being part of a scientific community made me feel like I'm not alone in solving the world's problems and there will always be help. We just have to be open to receiving and providing it.”

Read the full story from the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center.