Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council Names Its 2024 Scholar

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Source: Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council news release

The Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council (DCRC) named Briza Castro, a PhD candidate in the University of Wisconsin’s animal and dairy sciences department, as the 2024 DCRC Scholar. As the award recipient, Castro earned an expense-paid trip to attend the 2024 DCRC Annual Meeting, Nov. 12-14, in Arlington, Texas.

Castro received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New Mexico State University. Her master’s thesis addressed lipopolysaccharide endotoxin exposure on ovarian follicle immune responses, steroidogenesis, oocyte competence, and early embryonic development. With the guidance of her PhD advisor, M. Sofia Ortega, University of Wisconsin assistant professor in reproductive physiology, Castro’s research in reproductive physiology focuses on identifying bovine oocyte competence markers following follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulation in dairy heifers.

Currently, Castro’s research strives to better understand the differences in the competence of in vitro vs. in vivo matured oocytes. She is studying Holstein heifers undergoing a conventional four-day FSH stimulation to compare differences in reproductive parameters, follicular dynamics, and oocyte competence to further improve the success of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and their use in dairy cattle reproductive programs.

Along with her research, Castro has served as a graduate teaching assistant, which strengthened her commitment to academic excellence and ability to effectively communicate complex concepts in animal science. “Whether mentoring students in reproductive management or assisting with courses, such as anatomy and physiology of farm animals, Briza has consistently demonstrated her passion for education and her ability to inspire and guide students,” Ortega stated.

The DCRC Scholars program recognizes an outstanding graduate student studying dairy, animal or veterinary science, microbiology or a related program, with an area of interest that includes dairy cattle reproduction and fertility. Applicants submitted an interest statement that detailed their interest in dairy cattle reproduction, career goals and research project(s), and their academic advisor provided a letter of recommendation.

The Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council is focused on bringing together all sectors of the dairy industry – producers, consultants, academia and allied industry professionals – for improved reproductive performance. DCRC provides an unprecedented opportunity for all groups to work together to take dairy cattle reproduction to the next level.