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Michael Ling

Position/Title: Graduate Student
Office: ANNU


1. BScH. (Animal Biology, UofG, 2021)


About Me:

I am currently a master’s by coursework student under the supervision of Dr. Niel Karrow in the Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock. I completed my Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Biology (Honours) in 2021 where I developed a strong interest in animal health and immunogenetics. I am looking forward to working on my master’s project this upcoming summer semester where I will be identifying changes in the expression of circulatory microRNAs (miRNAs) post bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge in young dairy calves.

Recent studies have shown that miRNAs play a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis during pathogenesis, but their functional role remains enigmatic. Working on this project will contribute a better understanding of the functional role of miRNAs throughout the acute phase response in ruminants, and potentially contribute a better understanding of the crosstalk between the neuroendocrine and immune systems. A study conducted by Karrow and colleagues looked at changes in the expression of circulatory miRNAs post LPS challenge in young ewes. Results revealed that the identified differentially expressed miRNAs could potentially function as stress biomarkers for livestock as they were found to be well aligned with cytokine and chemokine biomarkers.

In terms of my responsibilities for this project, I will be synthesizing complimentary DNA (cDNA), as well as profiling differentially expressed miRNA between low, medium, and high stress responding dairy calves through quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis. I will be working alongside post-doctoral researcher, Dr. Umesh Shandilya and I am excited for this learning opportunity on how to conduct these assays, especially after reading about them so much throughout my undergraduate degree.

I am originally from Mississauga, but from a young age I have spent most of my time working on horse farms where I developed a passion for animals, their health, and equine breeding. In my free time, I enjoy riding my horse, relaxing with my dog, and exploring new music.