Victoria Asselstine

Role: Conference Bursary Recipient

Department: Animal Bioscience

College: OAC

Conference Attended: European Federation of Animal Science

In EAAP, researchers from more than 50 countries gather to collaborate and share results. There are many animal sciences fields covered, including genetics, sustainability, welfare, and production efficiency in over 70 sessions. With a vast focus, attendees have a variety of opportunities to further advance their knowledge in a specific topic or branch out and explore new topics. This year the theme for the EAAP is “Animal Farming for a Healthy World” and some of the sessions that will be covered this year include Heat Stress and Other Environmental Factors Affecting Performance: A Physiology Perspective, Cattle and Carbon Farming, Strategies Reducing Antimicrobial Need and Sustainable Pig Production Systems.

Location: Ghent, Belgium

Value: $3636

Research Presentation: 

The project I will present at the EAAP in 2019 is a project that I completed during my M.Sc. (in May 2018), in which I studied the underlying genetic mechanisms of mastitis resistance. Mastitis is one of the most challenging and profit-limiting diseases that Dairy producers face on a daily basis. Therefore, there is great interest and effort being made to breeding cows that are resistant to mastitis. My M.Sc. project used the collection of phenotypes and genotypes to make herds more resistant to mastitis. We investigated genetic markers associated with mucus plug formation and immune response to reduce the incidence of mastitis infection in bovine. The results from my work contribute to improving the sustainability of the dairy industry and agricultural practices.

At this conference, I will present the differentially expressed mRNA isoforms we identified in healthy and mastitic samples, as well as the pathways they are associated with.

Objectives for Attending: 

I am attending this conference because I am interested in many of the topics on the agenda, including how animal breeding can contribute to sustainable and global animal production, resilience and efficiency and animal health. I attended the EAAP in 2018 and it was an amazing learning opportunity. I learned a lot about the current state of research in my field of animal science and expanded my knowledge in areas less familiar to me. In particular, I acquired new knowledge in the session “Unravelling Genetic Architecture of Complex Traits Using Multi-Omic Approaches” which has helped me in my studies. The EAAP is a high-level conference that will advance my knowledge by gaining insight through attending presentations on the latest findings across animal science. Because my PhD project addresses multiple aspects related to the Food from Thought objectives, this conference will provide me with excellent information and networking opportunities with other scientists from around the world. Therefore, my first objective for this conference is to network with researchers working in different areas of animal science to gain a fresh perspective on new research. In addition to assisting me in completing my research, the knowledge I would gain at this conference will benefit my colleagues at the University of Guelph because I will be able to share what I learned with them. Equally as important is the opportunity to give an oral presentation; I believe public speaking is a critical aspect of graduate school. I gave an oral presentation at the EAAP last year and I feel as though I gained confidence and experience in public speaking and connecting with other scientists. Therefore, another important objective I would like to achieve is to work on my public speaking because this is an important skill for my future job aspirations in the industry.