Animal science graduate students and alumnus recognized at the American Society of Animal Science Southern Section meeting
February 1st, 2024
During the 2024 American Society of Animal Science Southern Section meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Texas A&M animal science graduate students competed in the three-minute thesis competition. A current and former student of the department were also presented with ASAS awards.
Grace Moore, a second-year master’s student focusing on equine nutrition, won second place in the M.S. 3-Minute Thesis Competition. Competing against 23 other students, Grace presented her thesis titled, “Evaluation of dietary Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation product on markers of joint inflammation in young, exercising horses following an intra-articular lipopolysaccharide challenge.”
Dallas Soffa is a Ph.D. student studying physiology of reproduction. She was awarded first place in the Ph.D. 3-Minute Thesis Competition with her presentation of, “Diversity of vaginal bacteria in lactating dairy cattle on pregnancy establishment.”
Autumn Pickett, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the department, was the recipient of the 2024 Joseph P. Fontenot Travel Scholarship Award for Southern Section. Autumn earned her B.S. in Animal Science from Southern Arkansas University in 2018 and her M.S. in Animal Science with a focus in ruminant nutrition from the University of Arkansas in 2020. Autumn is a graduate research assistant in Dr. Reinaldo Cooke’s lab, with her dissertation research focusing on managerial and nutritional strategies to modulate the various microbiota of beef cattle to improve efficiency of beef operations. Autumn has published three papers as first-author, co-authored five papers, and 20 scientific abstracts.
Pedro Fontes, Ph.D.
Dr. Pedro Fontes, a former student of the Department of Animal Science, was awarded the 2024 Southern Section Outstanding Early Career Animal Scientist Award for Research. Dr. Fontes is an assistant professor in beef cattle reproductive physiology at the University of Georgia’s Department of Animal and Dairy Science. He obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Sao Paulo State University, his M.S. in Animal Science from the University of Florida, and his Ph.D. in Physiology of Reproduction from Texas A&M University. Currently, Dr. Fontes’ research and extension program focuses on improving cattle reproductive efficiency through the improvement of assisted reproductive technologies and development of reproductive management strategies that maximize profitability in beef production systems. His leadership in applied beef cattle reproduction has resulted in invitations to speak at over 130 local, national, and international events. As additional concrete examples of Dr. Fontes’ accomplishments in his short career, he has authored/co-authored 35 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 2 book chapters, 58 peer-reviewed abstracts, and 56 extension and popular publications. Moreover, his program secured more than 1.7 million dollars in funding.