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Fatimatzahra Muhammad

Position/Title: Ph.D. Student
Office: ANNU 016B

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In the spring of 2020 I completed my Bachelor of Science in Behavioural Neuroscience at Laurentian University under the supervision of Dr. Blake Dotta and decided to pursue my longstanding ardent interest in equine physiology. This year, I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree under the tutelage of Dr. Wendy Pearson, and alongside PhD student Anna Garland and fellow student Duncan Fritton am investigating the impact of inflammation through exercise and obesity on heart rate in Standardbred horses.


Through the use of the Henneke Scoring System and weight tape estimations, fat deposition is determined and alongside heart rate monitor data accumulated during Standard Exercise Testing (SET) sequences conclusions can be drawn to determine the impact of these stressors. The implications of the study is widespread, being the first of its kind, it fills a gap in the research that could potentially be the gateway to a myriad of unanswered questions, since inflammation, while not being conclusively associated with obesity, has notably been developed as an instantaneous response in overweight horses which contributes to the development of chronic illnesses such as laminitis (referenced in the study Age and Body Condition Influence the Post-Prandial Interleukin-1β Response to a High-Starch Meal in Horses). Understanding the inflammatory impact obesity has on the body as opposed to exercise may further treatment options for horses, whilst enabling proactive measures to reduce development of more chronic illnesses.

About me:

Growing up I was an avid rider which sparked my interest in animal biology. Endurance sports, particularly running and biking has been a newfound passion of mine, and since the pandemic has been my form of athleticism. This study combines my two main interests and I believe will aid in the clarification of future studies. I aspire to delve deeper into proactive effects supplementation with nutraceuticals will have on horses, in preventing chronic issues, particularly in the racing industry.