2013 NMC Scholars Recognized
Students awarded travel scholarships to attend NMC 52nd annual meeting
The National Mastitis
Research Foundation (NMRF) board of directors selected Peter Down, University
of Nottingham; Pamela Fry, University of Missouri-Columbia; Felipe de
Freitas Guimarães, São Paulo State University; and Di Liang, University
of Kentucky; as the 2013 National Mastitis Council (NMC) Scholars. These
four graduate students, who posses a strong interest in mastitis control,
udder health and quality milk production, were recognized during the
NMC 52nd Annual Meeting, held January 27-29, 2013, in San Diego, California.
As a veterinarian in the United Kingdom, Down developed a keen interest
in mastitis as he witnessed difficulties producers face in controlling
this costly disease. His doctorate program involves creating a Bayesian
decision-theoretic framework to evaluate and optimize decision making
for mastitis control. Although numerous studies report cow and herd
risk factors for bovine mastitis, no research has evaluated optimal
decision making in different farm circumstances. Down continues his
clinical work on dairy farms and uses data from DairyCo, the national
mastitis control plan, to evaluate which mastitis interventions are
most cost effective, given a specific epidemiological diagnosis, to
facilitate better decision making on farms. His long-term career goals
include conducting research aimed at a better understanding of mastitis
and improving udder health in the dairy cow population. Additionally,
he wants to teach veterinary students and equip them with skills and
knowledge to make a positive impact on their clients' farms.
Fry's career goal is to become a clinician scientist. In that pursuit,
she is doing a residency in food animal medicine and surgery, with a
goal of becoming board certified in large animal internal medicine.
Fry is conducting research on coagulase-negative staphylococcal (CNS)
mastitis, in which she assembles the genomic sequences of four CNS species
isolated from cases of bovine mastitis. Her goal of is to identify virulence
genes within these sequenced strains and then determine if the genes
are prevalent among other CNS isolates of the same or different species.
In addition, Fry will determine if the identified virulence factors
have any effect on SCC or duration of mammary infection. By associating
specific genes with disease, the research team hopes to identify new
diagnostic methods or targets for interventional strategies. After completing
her studies, Fry plans to obtain a job at a university, working as a
clinical instructor and researcher.
A veterinarian and department of veterinary hygiene and public health
doctorate student, Guimarães says Brazil's dairy industry needs to develop
and implement new methods and concepts of mastitis control to ensure
milk quality. To address this need, his research focuses on isolating
and identifying the main staphylococci species that cause bovine mastitis,
and studying their capability in producing enterotoxins. Guimarães does
this by detecting enterotoxin-codifying genes and their expressions,
evaluating antimicrobial resistance and searching for a vancomycin-resistant
gene. Due to the increase in the percentage of intramammary infections
caused by staphylococci species in dairy herds, identifying species
capable of producing enterotoxins is important in determining and decreasing
the risk of human exposure to such hazards. After completing his doctorate
degree, he plans to teach at a university in an area related to public
health and food safety.
Pursuing a master's degree, Liang's research involves developing a mastitis
economics model. This model will increase awareness of the economic
impact of mastitis, along with revealing relationships of commodity
prices, cow factors and mastitis costs. Liang enjoys being involved
in dairy extension activities, which have reinforced her desire to work
directly with dairy producers in communicating the importance and practices
of mastitis management. Born in southern China, she holds a bachelor's
degree in animal science from China Agricultural University in Beijing.
Her career goal is to return to China and work as a dairy consultant
or manager. With advanced management systems and practices adopted from
the United States, Liang would like to help build the Chinese dairy
industry by addressing mastitis, a serious issue in that country. By
adjusting Chinese dairy economic models to include mastitis costs, the
dairy industry will better understand the importance of improving mastitis
control and milk quality.
The NMC Scholars Program provides travel scholarships for graduate students
to attend NMC annual meetings and encourage their involvement in NMC
programs and activities. Funding for the program comes from the NMRF,
which is financed through contributions from NMC members and supporters.
The goal of the program is to support the development of future udder
health, milking management and milk quality specialists.