Position/Title: M.Sc. (Thesis) Candidate
Office: ANNU 047B
BBRM-Hons, University of Guelph, 2015
M.Sc. (Thesis) Ruminant Immunogenetics
Thesis Topic: Utilizing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to determine if serum metabolites can be used as reliable biomarkers of stress in sheep and Cattle and if lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-induced stress response correlates to heat stress (HS).
Helping Your Sheep Beat the Heat (pg. 16-17)
Awards and Achievements:
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2020)
Canadian Dairy Master’s Scholarship (2020)
My love of animals and agriculture was instilled in me at a young age having grown up on a beef and cash crop farm just outside of Petrolia, On. It was this combined love of animals and agriculture that led me to the University of Guelph where I completed my undergraduate degree in Bio-Resource Management-Equine Management, however, it wasn’t until I was working full-time that I discovered I wanted to pursue a career in research, specifically animal immunology and genetics as they have always been an interest of mine.
Currently, I am completing my master’s thesis alongside Dr. Niel Karrow, where I assess the use of metabolites, the intermediate or end products of metabolism, as reliable stress biomarkers in ruminants. My research (currently ongoing), focuses on the use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomics to assess and quantify the changes expressed by metabolites after a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or natural heat stress (HS) challenge to determine if 1) serum metabolites can serve as reliable stress biomarkers, and 2) if LPS stress responsiveness correlates to HS responsiveness in ruminants, and if so, then this novel health phenotype could be used in selective breeding programs to increase heat tolerance (HT) within ruminant populations.
Ruminants play an important and decisive role in food security around the world, especially in environments that are subject to more extreme climate conditions. Constant exposure to high ambient temperatures, which is becoming more problematic in the face of climate change, can cause ruminants to enter a state of HS, affecting metabolic and physiological pathways and impeding overall animal productivity. The impact of HS could be lessened if populations were able to better adapt to stress. My master’s research aims to identity serum metabolite stress biomarkers that can be used by commercial producers to identify and breed more HT phenotypes within a population to improve long-term animal health.