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Samla Cunha

Position/Title: PhD Student
Office: ANNU 047

My interest in research and teaching started during my time as an undergraduate  student, where I had the opportunity to work as a teaching student for an Animal Genetics course and as an undergraduate research assistant for 3 years. This provided me with experience developing projects related to genetic variability in Sporophila angolensis, genetic diseases in sheep, and kidney physiology of sheep subjected to watering . All these opportunities allowed me to try scientific research and made me choose research and teaching as my future career. After I completed my bachelor’s in veterinary medicine, I was approved at the Animal Breeding and Genetics master program at the São Paulo State University. During this time, I received two prestigious Sao Paulo Research Foundation scholarships,which allowed me to complete my master's in Brazil and to take part in an internship abroad. I spent my time abroad at the University of Guelph working with Dr Flavio Schenkel. My master’s research topic was t o performs optimization of genetic models, estimation of genetic parameters, and genome-wide association study of conformation traits in dairy Gir cattle. After my master’s, I started my Ph.D. at the University of Guelph in the Department of Animal Bioscience under Dr. Angela Cánovas (advisor) and Dr. Flávio Schenkel (co-advisor) supervision. 
My project:
My Ph.D. project aims to identify genomic regions, quantitative trait loci, or genes that may be associated with genetic resistance against gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) in sheep. GINs are a major health problem affecting grazing sheep worldwide. Animals infected with GINs can develop anemia, weight loss, diarrhea, and death in some cases. Besides, animal welfare will decrease, and economic losses will arise due to reduced production and increased spending on treatments. Due to the increase in GIN resistance against anthelmintic, new and combine approaches need to be developed to protect our flocks against parasitism. One approach is the use of genetic selection. However, to provide a faster genetic gain it is important to understand the genetic basis of this trait and identify single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associated with genomic regions controlling the trait. Our final goal is to create a panel of SNPs that can be used to select our flocks for resistance against GIN.  
Ph.D., Animal Biosciences [2021 - ongoing]
University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada
Thesis Title: Understanding the genes and metabolic pathways associated with the resistance of sheep to gastrointestinal nematodes and its climate change effects
Advisor: Dr. Angela Cánovas
Co-advisor: Dr. Flávio Schenckel
M.S., Animal Breeding and Genetics [2018 – 2020]
State São Paulo University Júlio de Mesquita Filho, Jaboticabal, SP, Brazil
Thesis Title: Genetic parameters and Genome-Wide association study for linear conformation traits, milking ease and temperament in Dairy Gir
Advisor: Dr. Danísio Munari
Co-Advisor: Dr. João Claúdio do Carmo Panetto and Tatiane Seleguim Chud
Master Exchange period: University of Guelph, ON, Canada [August 2019 - January 2020]
Supervisor: Dr. Flavio Schenkel
B.VetMed, Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine [2011 – 2017]
Federal University of the São Francisco Valley, Petrolina, Pernambuco, Brazil
Thesis Title: Rebuilding the genealogy of L-2 hydroxyglutaric aciduria (L2-HGAU) in Staffordshire Bull Terrier dogs in Brazil 
Advisor: Dr. João Gouveia
Agriculture and Livestock Technician  [2008 - 2010]
Federal Institute of Rondônia, Colorado do Oeste, RO, Brazil
- 2022: Teaching Award  - Animal Biosciences Department 
- 2022: 2nd Place - Poster Presentation at the Animal Biosciences - OMAFRA Graduate Student Symposium
- 2015: Honorable Mention, Top 3 Abstracts at the X Univasf Teaching, Research, and Extension Week
- 2015: Honorable Mention in Animal Genetics at the XX Northeast Genetics Meeting
- Department of Animal Bioscience Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) [2022-2023]
- International Doctoral Tuition Scholarship – University of Guelph [2021 - ongoing]
- The Sao Paulo Research Foundation Scholarship – Full Master [2019-2020]
- The Sao Paulo Research Foundation Scholarship – Abroad Internship [2019-2020]
- CNPq - Undergraduate Research Assistant Scholarship - Project: Partial sequencing of the mitochondrial DNA control region in Sporophila angolensis [2014-2015]
- Federal University of the São Francisco Valley Scholarship for Teaching Assistant Students [2012 - 2013]