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Ivan Campos

Position/Title: M.Sc. (Thesis) Student
Office: ANNU 016

I am currently a M.Sc. student under the supervision of Dr. Flavio Schenkel in the Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock (CGIL), affiliated with the Department of Animal Biosciences. I completed my bachelors of Veterinary Medicine in 2017 from the University of São Paulo, College of Animal Science and Food Engineering, Brazil.

In 2014, during my undergraduate I conducted a scientific research focused on genomics. The research involved genomic tools used in Nellore cattle, the most popular beef cattle breed in Brazil. I also built a database model using SQL language for large-scale data alongside Dr. Ricardo Ventura. During my studies, the wide range of possibilities that can be achieved by exploring a combination of quantitative genetics and new technologies caught my attention. Since then I have become interested in genetic evaluation towards improving animal production.

In 2017, I earned a scholarship from the University of São Paulo to do an internship as a researcher at the University of Guelph, in the CGIL. At the University of Guelph, I was involved in a project about boar taint in a collaboration with the CGIL group and the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement (CCSI). Boar taint is an exhibition of a strong and unpleasant odour, affecting the taste when cooking non-castrated male pig meat. In the pork industry, the castration of young pigs is a common practice to avoid this problem. However, due to the compromised welfare, new alternatives are being studied. The project consisted of investigating the use of genetic selection to reduce boar taint of non-castrated pigs in the pig population in Canada. The project will provide alternatives to the current procedure.   

In 2018 I started my Masters in a project on Dairy Cattle. This project is part of the research program Food from Thought. Projected climatic changes, mostly the increase in temperature, leading to hotter summers and potential heat stress, will have a profound impact on livestock. For the dairy industry, where genetic selection has been widely implemented to select animals with higher productivity, this represents a major issue. In general, high-production cows do not cope well with environmental stressors, which can be translated into less heat-tolerant animals. My M.Sc. thesis focuses on developing genetic and genomic models to assess heat stress resilience in dairy cattle. The project will deliver tools for superior identification of heat-tolerant animals. Therefore, it will contribute towards the long-term goal of delivering novel breeding programs to select naturally better adapted livestock, with the ability to maintain robust fitness and production in the face of shifting environmental conditions.