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Stephanie Kamalanathan

Position/Title: MSc Student (Thesis)
email: kamalans@uoguelph.ca
Office: 43

I am currently a M.Sc. student studying Animal Breeding and Genetics in the Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock under the advisement of Dr. Flavio Schenkel and Dr. Christine Baes. Originally from Toronto, attending the University of Guelph was so that I could pursue becoming a veterinarian. While completing my B.Sc. in Animal Biology in order to gain experience with large animals, I volunteered for a variety of studies that were conducted at the Elora Dairy Research Centre. In 2018, I became a work study student under Dr. Trevor DeVries and then worked at a commercial dairy barn. These experiences lead me to be more interested in conducting research and pursuing a masters in dairy cattle genetics. 

Currently, I’m involved in the Efficient Dairy Genome Project (EDGP) where I will be investigating genetic possibilities to reduce methane (CH4) emissions in dairy cattle. As one the most prevalent naturally occurring greenhouse gases, mitigation of methane emissions has become an increasingly critical area of research. This is because methane plays an important role in global warming. Methane has 28 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2); where, CHfermentation by ruminants accounts for about 32% of total non-COemissions from agriculture. Therefore, the reduction of CH4 would make an important contribution for decreasing the impact of greenhouse emissions. My M.Sc. thesis will involve performing genetic and genomic analyses and to assess if methane efficiency is heritable and correlated with other dairy cattle traits (e.g. milk yield) using genomic selection models. This project will deliver tools for superior identification of methane efficient animals. Therefore, it will contribute towards the long-term goal of implementing efficiency traits into novel breeding schemes to select for naturally efficient livestock, while maintaining or increasing the milk supply needed to meet the anticipated increase in global dairy demand. 

In my spare time I enjoy dog walking, spending time with friends and family, as well as occasionally playing sports such as basketball and skiing.