Rathnayaka Amila Bandara
Position/Title: Ph.D. Candidate
Phone: (519) 824-4120 ext. 58335
Office: ANNU 152
I completed my B.Sc. in Agricultural Sciences (Specialization in Livestock Production) at Sabaragamuwa University of in Sri Lanka. As a result of my academic excellence, I was fortunate to immediately start a career in academia as a staff member at the same university, where I became more involved in research, particularly regarding poultry and dairy cattle production. While I completed my Master's degree (M.Phil in Animal Science) at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka in focusing on weaning stress in rabbits, a project that and incorporated behaviour and stress physiology, I developed a passion for the study of pain and distress in animals. I then found the perfect way to pursue my interests in the neurophysiology of pain. I started a Ph.D. in poultry welfare at the University of Guelph, investigating on-farm euthanasia of poultry under the advisement of Dr. Tina Widowski and Dr. Stephanie Torrey. We are focusing on the efficacy of different on-farm euthanasia techniques across North America, we and wish to establish science-based recommendations for best practices to ensure that euthanasia devices are humane, effective, and pose minimal threat to the operators. As a part of my Ph.D. research, I had the great opportunity to work with Dr. Suzanne Millman in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animals, Iowa State University in the fall of 2017. I joined Dr. Millman’s welfare lab as a visiting scholar and investigated CO2 gas as a possible on-farm euthanasia technique for poultry. In this project, we studied "conditioned place preference" and "approach-avoidance" paradigms to explore turkeys' and layer chickens' exposure to and experience of the induction of insensibility to different concentrations of CO2 gas. After my Ph.D., I hope to pursue my research interests in an academic setting where I can investigate basic research questions that may have implications for industry and policy. I enjoy traveling and have been blessed to travel to ten countries on four continents, seeing historical sites and exploring the diversity of cultures. Travel as a hobby is for the adventurous who have a natural curiosity to go where they haven't gone before. I always believe "Travel makes you brave".