MSc. Student by thesis
After graduating with a BSc., honours in Animal Biology, I spent a few years working in various animal care settings. I gained experience working as the calf care manager on a dairy farm, as well as living and working at an equestrian facility. Additionally, for the past ten years I have worked as a veterinary technician and receptionist at a small animal clinic. Outside of work and research, I am a member of the ABSc Graduate Student Council. I also enjoy going to the gym and riding my horse.
After strongly missing the University of Guelph, I returned in 2017 to continue my education. After obtaining an OMAFRA- HQP scholarship, I started my MSc. in under the supervision of Dr. Angela Cánovas and Dr. Niel Karrow, within the Center for Genetic Improvement in Livestock (CGIL).
Our project is examining parasite resistance in grazing sheep. Specifically, we are examining the abomasum transcriptome using RNA-sequencing to identify key regulator genes and functional Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in animals that develop an enhanced immune response to the gastrointestinal nematode Haemonchus contortus. H. contortus has been previously identified as a common cause of mortality and morbidity in grazing sheep. Because of the parasite’s ability to rapidly contaminate pastures and its pathogenic nature, sheep can die of this infection within 8-12 weeks of going on pasture. The resulting information can be integrated into breeding programs to select for genetically resistant animals. This should improve the competitiveness of Canadian sheep producers through genetic selection for better health. By identifying these genes, and the systems in which they work, this could also help future researchers identify targets for drug development, contributing to improved animal health and welfare in sheep production. After the completion of this project, I hope to continue research in the field of animal breeding and genetics.