Position/Title: MSc. Student
Phone: (613) 803 3656
Office: ANNU 015
BSc. Honours in Animal Biology with a minor in Nutrition and Nutraceuticals
MSc. by thesis in Animal Nutrition, advised by Dr. Anna Kate Shoveller
In 2015 I came to the University of Guelph to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Animal Biology, but quickly became interested in nutrition and metabolism and decided to declare a minor in Nutrition and Nutraceuticals. During this time, I was provided a Research Assistantship opportunity under Dr. Anna Kate Shoveller in collaboration with Dr. Adronie Verbrugghe's team that introduced me to several laboratory techniques and allowed me to publish work focused on the relationship between starch source, gastric emptying rate, and its relation to diabetes and obesity in sled dogs. This sparked my passion for research and an interest in graduate studies. Following my BSc., I began an MSc. by thesis under Dr. Anna Kate Shoveller focusing on the effects of camelina oil supplementation on skin and coat health in dogs and horses. Why camelina oil? Camelina is a low-input crop that performs well in various climates, seasons, and soil types. These characteristics make camelina a desirable, low-risk crop for Canadian farmers and an alternative plant oil source for companion animals. Potential nutritional benefits of Camelina oil include a desirable omega 3:6 fatty acid ratio and high concentrations of tocopherols (a natural antioxidant), making it an ideal supplement for skin and coat health. Over a 16-week feeding trial, I assessed its effects on trans-epidermal water loss, inflammatory and oxidative biomarkers in the blood, and changes in skin/coat parameters using a 5-Point Likert scale.
Additional deliverables of this project include changes in serum fatty acids, body weight, body condition, food intake, and biochemical and hematological analytes following supplementation, and will be carried out by my colleague, Scarlett Burron, to assess the safety of camelina oil. The canine safety data collected from this project is published in Animals, and suggests that camelina oil is comparable to canola and flaxseed oils, which are already approved for canine and equine diets by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). The remaining results are underway and will be used to obtain GRAS and AAFCO approval to make camelina oil an accepted ingredient in canine and equine diets.
In the future, I hope to continue to improve the lives of companion animals through the exploration of nutritional supplementation, inflammation, and metabolism.
 Richards TL, Rankovic A, Cant JP, Shoveller AK, Adolphe JL, Ramdath D, Verbrugghe A. Effect of Total Starch and Resistant Starch in Commercial Extruded Dog Foods on Gastric Emptying in Siberian Huskies. Animals (Basel). 2021 Oct 10;11(10):2928.
 Burron S, Richards TL, Patterson K, Grant C, Akhtar N, Trevizan L, Pearson W, Shoveller AK. Safety of Dietary Camelina Oil Supplementation in Healthy, Adult Dogs. Animals (Basel). 2021 Sep 5;11(9):2603.