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Midian Nascimento Dos Santos

Position/Title: Ph.D. Student

My interest in animal production and science motivated me to obtain my B.Sc. in Animal Science in Brazil. As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to participate in an exchange program at Montpellier SupAgro in France, where I expanded my knowledge of animal production systems, especially poultry production. This experience deepened my interest in poultry research and inspired me to pursue post-graduate studies at Mississippi State University, where I participated in a research internship program and obtained my Master's degree with Dr. McDaniel.

Currently, I am a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Torrey. My research focuses on evaluating and comparing the welfare and health of both, slow and fast-growing strains of ‘broiler’ chickens (birds farmed for meat rather than eggs). Several disorders have been reported in modern broilers, as a result of intense genetic selection for larger, leaner, and more efficient, very fast-growing birds. These include muscle disorders which may impair welfare as well as meat quality. Additionally, the accelerated growth in modern strains of broiler chickens is commonly associated with lameness (leg weakness), which is a major concern in broiler production. It is therefore often assumed that the use of slower-growing strains would improve welfare. But would it? In order to evaluate and benchmark the different strains of broiler chickens, I am assessing their overall performance (body weight, body weight gain, feed conversion), litter quality, mortality, walking ability and welfare, including foot pad lesion, leg health, and bone disorders. Additionally, I am conducting post-mortem evaluations to determine the incidence and prevalence of carcass and meat quality defects.

Outside of my current doctoral project, I am a research assistant with Food From Thought. Here, I am conducting a detailed study to develop measurement tools for evaluating the efficacy of ‘food literacy’ interventions, which can hopefully be implemented as a way to stimulate healthier food choices in Canada.

In my free time, I enjoy cooking and spending time with my friends and family. In the future, I hope for a successful career in the poultry industry.