M.Sc. by thesis student
Animal Science and Nutrition Building, Room 217
From an early age, I had an interest in animals, especially horses. I have been a member of the London Pony Club, Association Équestre Régionale du Sud-Ouest and the Ontario University Equestrian Association. My passion for animals led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in Animal Biology at the University of Guelph, which I graduated from in 2016.
I am currently a Master’s student by thesis, working with Dr. Wendy Pearson (http://animalbiosciences.uoguelph.ca/users/wpearson). My research investigates the relationship between obesity and arthritis in horses. Obesity is recognized as the most important preventable risk factor for arthritis due to mechanical loading of the joints. Interestingly, fat also increases the risk of arthritis in non-weight bearing joints suggesting there is a metabolic effect as well. Therefore, understanding the interaction between fat and cartilage could allow for interference with this physiology.
I am developing an in vitro model for obesity-associated arthritis to reveal the effect of fat on cartilage. Fat and cartilage are collected post-mortem, cultured together and stimulated with a pro-inflammatory agent to simulate an arthritic environment. The tissue culture media is collected and analyzed for markers of breakdown and inflammation.
Findings from my research may have the potential to prolong healthy joint function in overweight horses. Future research could use this model to evaluate the effects of different feed and ingredients on obesity-associated arthritis. After completing my Master’s, I hope to attend the Ontario Veterinary College where I will specialize in equine sports medicine.