The National Mastitis Council (NMC) selected Saranya Narayana, University of Calgary; Savannah Basham, Auburn University; Ameline Wuytack, Ghent University; and Zhaoju Deng, Utrecht University; as the 2019 NMC Scholars. These graduate students earned an expense-paid trip to attend the 2019 NMC Annual Meeting, Jan. 29-Feb. 1, in Savannah, Ga.
Narayana is pursuing a doctorate degree in genetic epidemiology with research focused on the genetics of heifer mastitis in early lactation. Her master’s degree research looked at the genetic analysis of milk fatty acid groups and focused on improving milk quality. With an interest in animal well-being, Narayana is using her knowledge and expertise in research to enhance cow health and support the dairy industry by controlling mastitis and improving milk quality. Her current research involves evaluating six traits for subclinical mastitis. Study results show that despite low heritability, exploitable genetic variation among sires exists for all six traits.
A master’s degree candidate, Basham is also studying veterinary medicine. Upon graduation from her advanced degree programs, she plans to seek a career working with dairy producers and improving cow health and comfort. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky, Basham assisted with research projects focusing on milk quality techniques in the Southeast. The thorough farm evaluations included teat end scoring, body condition scoring, parlor equipment monitoring and observing on-farm housing conditions. Earlier this year, she received the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges Veterinary Student Scholarship Award.
Fascinated with cows as she grew up in the Belgian countryside, Wuytack did an apprenticeship on a high-producing dairy in France, where she gained insights in udder health management and techniques to enhance milk quality. As an intern, she conducted two clinical trials – testing a novel product to improve udder health. Wuytack’s research focuses on ecology, epidemiology and relevance of non-aureus Staphylococcus species (NAS) related to udder health in dairy cattle. She is comparing and examining NAS species distribution, which she isolated from different habitats, like teat apices, milk from (sub)clinically infected and healthy quarters, and feces.
Armed with a master’s degree and veterinary medicine degree from Chinese universities, Deng is now pursuing a doctorate degree. His goal is to contribute to improving animal health, welfare and productivity on Chinese dairy farms. During his master’s degree work, Deng discovered he lacked epidemiology and data analysis skills to be effective on China’s dairy farms using automatic milking systems (AMS). Now, he is researching the dynamics of contagious pathogens in AMS herds. The work involves identifying mastitis risk factors, evaluating a new diagnostic test, modeling the transmission of contagious pathogens, and evaluating antibiotic use for mastitis.
NMC is a professional organization devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality. NMC promotes research and provides information to the dairy industry on udder health, milking management, milk quality and milk safety. Founded in 1961, NMC has about 1,000 members in more than 40 countries throughout the world. For more information, go to: www.nmconline.org.