Source: National Mastitis Council news release
The National Mastitis Council (NMC) selected Daryna Kurban, University of Montreal; Sam Rowe, University of Minnesota; Igor Van Den Brulle, Ghent University; and Max-Arne Schnitt, Free University of Berlin; as the 2020 NMC Scholars. These graduate students earned an expense-paid trip to attend the 2020 NMC Annual Meeting, Jan. 28-31, in Orlando, Fla.
A native of Ukraine, Kurban studied animal product quality, due to its impact on human health. During her master’s degree studies, she explored veterinary hygiene and sanitation, with a focus on milk quality. Her research looked at fat, protein and somatic cell content in cows’ and goats’ milk – depending on the lactation number.
Concurrently with these studies, Kurban worked in the milk quality laboratory in Dnipro, Ukraine, which was created as a Canadian-Ukrainian partnership project. During that work experience, she learned about laboratory standardized operating procedures, milk bacteriology testing and other milk quality parameters. Kurban just started working on her doctorate degree, with a focus on epidemiological analyses.
Rowe earned his bachelor’s degree in veterinary science from James Cook University (JCU), Australia, and his master’s degree in veterinary medicine from Massey University, New Zealand. He worked as an associate veterinarian in Queensland, Australia, and adjunct lecturer at JCU. As part of his master’s research, Rowe studied the effect of pre-milking teat disinfection in dairy cattle in Northern Queensland.
In Minnesota, he is managing three major research projects. One looks at prevalence and etiology of subclinical intramammary infections (IMI) in late-lactation cows and investigates the relationship between bedding types and bedding hygiene and IMI risk. Another study involves selective dry cow therapy and reduced use of antibiotics.
With a passion for cows that developed on his grandparents’ farm, Van Den Brulle studied veterinary medicine and gained training through several French veterinarian clinics. His doctorate research involves investigating the link between mastitis, herd somatic cell count and robotic dairy farms. This study involves scoring udder hygiene, evaluating teat end condition, discussing a questionnaire with dairy farmers and sharing Dairy Herd Improvement results with dairy farmers.
In addition, Van Den Brulle is following the recovery of cows with clinical mastitis on three dairy farms. This study allows him to work with farmers and analyze and solve udder health problems. Plus, Van Den Brulle, with his research team, tested a new external teat sealant under in vitro conditions.
A veterinarian by training, Schnitt gained field experience in Germany and the United States. His research project deals with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in German dairy herds. Through his study, Schnitt is trying to determine the within-herd spread of MRSA. He has sampled herds all over Germany and screened numerous milk and swab samples for methicillin-resistant staphylococci.
Schnitt detected MRSA and a range of methicillin-resistant, coagulase-negative staphylococci from young stock, teat liners, automatic calf feeders and dust. All MRSA strains were analyzed using molecular typing methods, such as spa-typing, SCCmec-typing and whole-genome sequencing. Next, he will evaluate potential intervention strategies for MRSA-positive farms.