LRIC names Early Career Research Award recipient

Jun 05, 2023

Project to tackle key disease problem in sheep and goat production

Guelph ON,– A University of Guelph researcher who will focus her research on one of the most important pathogens in small ruminant livestock is the winner of this year’s Early Career Research Award. Dr. Emma Borkowski received her award at the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC) annual symposium on June 1. 

Borkowski will receive $70,000 to help fund her research into controlling gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) in small ruminants, specifically sheep and goats. The pathogen causes severe disease and death in sheep and goats, as well as significant financial losses for producers because of decreased growth, and wool and milk production in affected animals.

Existing treatments for GINs focus on medications, but only two products are licensed in Canada for sheep and none at all for goats. As well, resistance to those existing treatments is a growing problem. Many farmers are turning to indoor housing to control gastrointestinal nematodes, a move that is more costly and less sustainable than grazing small ruminants on pasture. Borkowski’s research will focus on understanding and leveraging natural immune responses for GIN control, including being able to breed for better immunity. 

“As an organization, LRIC believes strongly in fostering cross-sector work as well as creativity and industry focus in approaches to research that will address the big issues facing livestock production today and in the future,” said LRIC board director Tara Terpstra in presenting the award. “Emma’s research has the potential to have a big impact on the livestock industry in Ontario and LRIC is proud to support her work with this award.” 

The Early Career Research Award is funded by LRIC, Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS), Western Fair Association (WFA), Ontario Agricultural College and Ontario Veterinary College. It was first launched last year and is designed to encourage cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary approaches to livestock research.  

The award is available to faculty from the University of Guelph who are participants in LRIC’s Early Career Mentorship Program. LRIC launched its mentorship program in 2020 with the goal of bridging early career University of Guelph faculty to the livestock industry by deepening their understanding of its research needs, as well as building important relationships with industry. 

Livestock Research Innovation Corporation was established in 2012 with support from Ontario’s beef, pork, dairy and poultry sector organizations and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. LRIC’s mission is driving innovation. The organization takes a value chain approach to research and innovation by providing leadership in research priority setting, coordination and process, identifying and communicating emerging issues, and strengthening networks across the sector. 

Source : Livestock Research
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