Agnese Balzani

Position/Title: Post Doctoral Fellow
Office: ANNU 016

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Currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Animal Bioscience of the University of Guelph, under the supervision of Dr. Harlander, studying the intersection of phenotyping turkey health and welfare and turkey genetics working closely with Professor Christine Baes and the genetic team, of the Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock (CGIL).

I received my undergraduate degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Bologna (Italy) with a year exchange at the University of Cordoba (Spain). During my MSc on Food Safety and Quality, I studied the relationship between host and gut microflora of weaned pig in collaboration with the Veterinary Faculty of Bologna and the Department of Animal Science at  Wageningen University (The Netherlands). Before starting my Ph.D. I worked for two years as a research assistant at the Italian Veterinary Service Body which operates to maintain good animal and human health. I implemented protocols for food safety and advisory support for prophylaxis and treatment of zoonoses. This work experience together with my studies allowed me to work on several research projects in different animal species and sparked an interest in research and a desire to improve animal health and welfare. I continued my research through a Ph.D. in animal science with an emphasis on pig health and behaviour under the supervision of Professor Sandra Edwards (School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Newcastle University) and Professor Heather Cordell (Institute of Genetics, Newcastle University) in Uk.

The overall aim of the research project was to develop methods to classify and select udder traits (e.g. conformation, ease of colostrum extraction, colostrum quality) in sows, to enhance piglet survival, immune status, and long-term performance. I completed my thesis in 2016 and soon after, I joined the European Food Safety Authority as a scientific officer. Working on the evaluation of applications for feed additives authorization in particular of trace elements, enzymes, microorganisms and other zootechnical additives. Moreover, I collaborated in the evaluation of poultry welfare assessment.