One of the key players in creating and operating a COVID-19 lab at Oklahoma State University’s Stillwater campus is Dr. Akhilesh Ramachandran, who has been working at the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for seven years.
The decision to become a veterinarian was a simple one
for Ramachandran — he has always liked animals. He completed veterinary school in India before coming to Oklahoma State to earn a Ph.D in molecular biology in 2003. He worked for companies associated with OSU before joining OADDL in 2013, fulfilling his dream to work in a diagnostic lab.
“I like microbiology — looking through the microscope and seeing all the microbes is interesting,” he said. He oversees testing for microbiology and molecular diagnostics at OADDL. Once testing is over for the day in the COVID-19 lab, Ramachandran also helps in reporting the results of the hundreds of patient samples tested daily.
Ramachandran met his wife, Asitha Pillai, when they were 19-year-old classmates in
India. She earned a veterinary medicine degree and joined him in Oklahoma in 2001.
She graduated with
a master’s degree in animal science from OSU. The pair appreciate Stillwater as a safe place to raise a family.
Their son, Udhav, is 16 and a student at Stillwater High School. Like his classmates,
he completed his sophomore year online, which turned out to be a blessing. While Ramachandran
was working long days due to the pandemic and his wife was working nights, Udhav would
have a meal ready when they came home in the middle of
“He’s a good son who means everything to me,” Ramachandran said. “I’m ultimately doing this for him.”