University of Calgary researchers chosen for beef mentorship program

Initiative helps scientists better understand the needs of the beef sector and how it adopts research

Two University of Calgary researchers, along with a pair of Saskatchewan scientists, have been selected for the 2018-19 Beef Researcher Mentorship program.

The program pairs researchers with beef industry leaders and provides them with a travel budget so they can attend industry meetings, producer workshops, and farm tours. The goal of the program is to allow researchers to better understand the impacts, practicalities, and economics of adopting research results.

Dongyan Niu and Gabriel Ribeiro are both assistant professors in faculty of veterinary medicine at the University of Calgary.

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Niu is an expert in food safety and the overall goal of her research is to advance food safety from farm to fork by precisely understanding emergence and persistence of zoonotic pathogens as well as to develop innovative strategies to minimize food safety risk and enhance animal and public health.

Her mentors are Elizabeth Homerosky — a rancher, beef cattle veterinarian, and researcher at Veterinary Agri-Health Services in Airdrie — and Mark Klassen, director of technical services for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

Riberio comes from a family of beef and dairy farmers in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and worked at Agriculture Canada’s Lethbridge centre while completing his PhD and then a post-doc. His research focuses on strategies to improve beef cattle production, reduce its effects on the environment, and increase profitability.

His mentors are Bryan Theisen — owner of Namaka Farms, a feedlot and farming operation near Strathmore, and Outlook, Sask. — and Dirk , a feedlot nutritionist with Allied Marketing Group Inc., which operates 14 feedlots in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The other researchers chosen for the one-year mentorship program are Jill Bainard, a forage scientist at Agriculture Canada’s Swift Current station, and Diego Moya, a veterinarian and assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Moya’s work includes development of nutritional and management strategies to optimize the balance between animal care and environmental and economic sustainability.

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