Samantha Koda

PhD Student Samantha KodaPhD Student

Department of Infectious Diseases & Immunology

Major Advisor: Thomas Waltzek, DVM, PhD 

Office Location: APL 211



  • MS – Veterinary Medical Sciences – University of Florida, 2017
  • BS – Aquatic Biology – University of California at Santa Barbara, 2013

Honors & Awards

  • Australia-Americas PhD Research Internship Program (2018)
  • UF Grinter Fellowship (2017)
  • UF CVM Excellence in Master’s Studies (2017)

Research Interests

I am currently conducting research on a fish virus called Megalocytivirus! It has been reported to infect over 125 different fish species around the world. This includes both freshwater and marine ornamental and food fish. My work is mostly focused on improving diagnostic techniques to identify this virus through conventional PCR, quantitative PCR, and hopefully in situ hybridization soon! I also do phylogenomic work to try and better understand the relationship of these viral strains on a taxonomic level.


  • Koda SA, Subramaniam K, Pouder DB, Yanong RP, Frasca S Jr., Waltzek TB. Phylogenomic characterization of red seabream iridovirus from Florida pompano Trachinotus carolinus maricultured in the Caribbean Sea. In press Archives of Virology (2019)
  • Koda SA, Subramaniam K, Francis-Floyd R, Yanong RP, Frasca Jr. S, Groff JM, Mohan S, Fraser WA, Yan A, Waltzek TB (2018) Phylogenomic characterization of two novel members of the genus Megalocytivirus from archived ornamental fish samples. Dis Aquat Org 130:11-24.
  • Lopez-Porras A, Morales JA, Alvarado G, Koda SA, Camus A, Subramaniam K, Waltzek TB, Soto E (2018). Red seabream iridovirus associated with cultured Florida pompano Trachinotus carolinus mortality in Central America. Dis Aquat Org 130:109-115.

About Me

I really LOVE fish! I try to go to an aquarium if I’m ever travelling and it is on my bucket list to visit the Georgia Aquarium and the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan! Funny enough, I get extremely sea sick and I just started my first freshwater aquarium at home in 2018! I used to be an aquarist so the idea of me going home to tend to more fish was exhausting haha. Other than fish, I like to go running outdoors and scrapbooking! Feel free to contact me about my research or if you ever have any fish questions!

As part of both the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the Academic Health Center, Veterinary Medicine is dedicated to advancing animal, human and environmental health through teaching, research, extension and patient care.


Boehringer Ingelheim

The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program offers DVM students an opportunity to gain exposure in biomedical research.


Need animal care? Visit the UF Small Animal and Large Animal Hospitals. From dogs, cats, birds and exotics to horses, cattle, llamas, pigs and many other large farm or food animals, our experienced veterinarian staff is ready to assist.