The Angus Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural Angus Foundation Research Grant after a comprehensive selection process.
The Angus Foundation Research Grant is awarded to undergraduate and post-graduate students to enable them to undertake research that can be applied to the Australian beef industry and contribute to Angus Australia’s objective of enhancing the value of Angus cattle and beef. The Grant may be used to conduct a new project or to extract additional findings from an existing project that the individual or institution has already commenced.
Applications from seven undergraduate and phD students were received from Charles Sturt University, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Central Queensland University, University of Adelaide, University of Newcastle and The University of New England.
Following successful shortlisting and a presentation to a selection committee the Angus Foundation congratulates the following researchers on being a recipient of the Research Grant which will go towards helping them with their nominated project.
Brianna Maslen – Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Project Title : Evaluate whether microorganisms in rectal faecal samples can be profiled in order to identify their relationship with 1. Immune response 2. Growth performance 3. Meat Quality
The microorganisms that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract have a major influence on the health and productivity of livestock. Studies in ruminants, including in beef cattle, have demonstrated that ruminal microorganisms can help convert poor quality or indigestible feed into nutrients, thereby influencing economically important traits like feed conversion efficiency and meat quality (e.g. marbling). Similarly, intestinal microorganisms have been shown to interact with receptors on intestinal epithelial cells to regulate a variety of physiological processes including immune responses. Therefore, if we can identify what type of microorganisms are shared in common between animals that have desirable phenotypes, we can manipulate gut microorganisms via diet or faecal transplants, and increase the efficiency and profitability of production. Studies have also shown that the profile of microorganisms in the gut is heritable. So, it may also be possible to genetically select cattle that have desirable gut microorganisms.
Brianna’s research supervisor Dr Sameer D. Pant described Brianna as a “very bright student with a significant interest and ambition in developing a career in research”. Dr Pant went on to say “In terms of research, Brianna was involved in an extremely exciting research project as part of her honours, where she demonstrated how faecal microorganisms of beef cattle change within the first two weeks of feedlot induction”
Hanlie Lubbe – The University of New England, Armidale, NSW
Project Title: To determine the inbreeding depression and the effect it has on key production traits within the Australian Angus beef cattle herd.
Through increased understanding of the levels of inbreeding depression within the Angus beef cattle population, breeders will be able to set more appropriate goals for their breeding programs, allowing the achievement of long term genetic gains. Traditionally, pedigree information has been utilised for the calculation of inbreeding, on the basis of the probability that both alleles at a single loci are identical by descent, however in light of the accessibility of genomics, there is scope for the project to also include genomic analysis.
Hanlie’s research supervisor , Associate Professor Sam Clark , described Hanlie as “a bright young student with a keen interest in animal breeding and genetics. She has shown a great eye for detail and analytical skills and was the highest performing student for the unit. Hanlie also has exceptional communication skills and industry knowledge”
Angus Australia will monitor the projects throughout the year and provide members an update on the research outcomes as they become available.
The Angus Foundation Research Grant will call for applications again in 2022.