Zahra Nikousefat

Role: HQP Scholar

Degree: PhD

Project: Pro inflammatory mechanisms of air particles in barn air as a risk factor for bovine respiratory disease: understanding mechanisms for improved disease prevention.

Department: Department of Pathobiology (OVC)

What inspired you to pursue your current degree? 

As a veterinarian, I was passionate about being responsible for animals’ well-being. This huge desire drove me to pursue my degree at a Ph.D. level to fulfill my dream.

What about your research area excites you? 

My project primarily examines the immune response in neonatal calves with respiratory disease. I’m very interested in learning how to start interacting immune cells. Finding a link between the symptoms and tissue reactions by scanning the scope interests me the most.

What challenges do you find in your research, and how do you try to overcome them? 

Inducing the disease by inoculating the air particles into animals is one of the trickiest aspects of my project. As the BRD’s characteristics vary among different individuals’ immunity, creating an environment similar to one in which the disease naturally occurs does not ensure its onset.

How would you describe your research and the implications of your project? 

Animal immunological research is essential for achieving milestones and developing fresh insights into how a disease spreads. We can reflect on how we’ve approached BRD in the past by considering how airborne particles affect the immune system as we shift toward a new way of thinking about respiratory issues. While working hard to translate the findings into human medicine and make the most of fresh discoveries made in animal models, we’re looking forward to celebrating how well we’ve been able to control the disease.

What are three of your favourite activities outside the lab? 

Cooking, spending time with family and exercising.

What is one important thing you have learned during the pandemic?

Practice gratitude for every moment of life.