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The National Mastitis Council (NMC) named Ellen de Jong, University of Calgary, Hannah Woodhouse, University of Guelph, Valentina Monistero, University of Milan, and Bruno Silva, Ghent University (Belgium), as the 2021 NMC Scholars. These graduate students earned an expense-paid trip to attend the 2021 NMC Annual Meeting, Jan. 25-28, in Dallas.
De Jong earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wageningen University (the Netherlands). Her excellent thesis work on dairy cattle hoof lesions led her to an oral presentation at the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar, where she won second place. These results helped her launch her doctorate degree program at the University of Calgary where she received a $20,000 milk quality scholarship. De Jong’s current research is looking at mastitis control and mastitis treatments, with an aim to quantify consequences of selective mastitis treatment protocols on various farm parameters, as well as identify barriers to prudent use of mastitis treatments. Currently, she serves as president of the university’s Veterinary Medicine Graduate Student Association
An elite endurance runner, Woodhouse grew up on a family-operated Ontario dairy farm and takes pride in producing quality milk. Two years ago, she embarked on a research project and investigated the on-farm factors associated with elevated free fatty acids (FFAs) in milk. Through a careful review of published literature, Woodhouse assembled an extensive list of factors that could be associated with elevated FFAs and developed an on-farm data collection protocol to collect data from local dairy farms. Last summer, she expanded the data collection for a pilot project. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree from the Ontario Veterinary College’s Population Medicine Department.
Monistero received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Milan, and started pursuing a doctorate degree in 2018 at the University of Milan in veterinary and animal sciences. Her research focuses on expression of antibiotic resistance genes in Staphylococcus aureus. Monistero collaborated with researchers worldwide to investigate the strong association of bovine staphylococcal genotypes with their antimicrobial and virulence patterns. She used molecular analysis to assess the impact of diverse Staphylococcus aureus genotypic clusters on milk quality and cow health. Furthermore, Monistero was the primary contributor to a study that looked at the dynamics of herd-level Streptococcus uberis infections.
A native of Brazil, Silva earned his bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine from the University of North Paraná, Brazil, along with being named the Outstanding Graduating Student. As part of his undergraduate studies, he researched in vitro antimicrobial activity of Punica granatum L. extracts over Staphylococcus aureus isolated from bovine milk. He received a master’s degree in clinical veterinary science from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. His current research focuses on the interaction between bovine-related non-aureus staphylococci and Staphylococcus aureus and the in vitro effects on bacterial growth, biofilm production and immune response of bovine mammary epithelial cells.