Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (FMVZ)
(Institutional affiliation from the last research proposal)
I completed the course in veterinary medicine at PUC, RS, Uruguaiana in 1983. I worked at the Veterinary Research Institute Desiderio Finamor (1983-1987). During this period, I developed a passion for animal welfare with my involvement in the production unit of outdoor pigs in Paim Filho, a pioneer in the practice of animal welfare. After the brief passage at ACARESC- EMATER (1987 ), working with outdoor pig production, I was accepted into the doctoral program at the University of Cambridge, UK, where I completed my PhD in 1992, the first veterinarian in the world with a Ph.D. in animal welfare. I studied indicators of animal welfare in pigs, in particular changes in the endogenous opioid system in the brain which are related to psychiatric disorders in humans. I discovered that abnormal repetitive behaviour was associated with changes in the opioid system. I continued working as pos-doctoral fellow in Germany, at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (1992-1996), with particular emphasis on the development of non-invasive methods for measuring stress in different species of wild and domestic animals. I also demonstrated that socially isolated pigs have compromised central nervous system, particularly in the endogenous opioid system. In 1996, I started the program Behaviour and Animal Welfare at Michigan State University, one of the most influential programmes in the world, where I also gained more experience in the area of teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate students. My main job was to study environmental factors and their impact on the ability of animals to cope with difficult situations. My work on the effect of early- weaning, less than 21 days of age, in increasing aggression in pigs and impairment of memory processes, was a milestone in the research of animal welfare. I also studied attitudes toward animal welfare and pain in dairy cattle. In 2006, I was offered the professorship of animal welfare at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Oslo, Norway, where I created the research and teaching programmes in animal welfare. In Norway I studied the impact of human-animal interactions in the pre-natal period in the organization of the brain in lambs. I also developed protocols to evaluate welfare and behavioural problems studied in pigs. In 2011 I accepted the position of professor and chair in animal health and animal welfare at the Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) in Edinburgh. At SRUC I coordinated the project AWIN (www.animal-welfare-indicators.net), funded by the European Union, to develop scientific protocols for assessing animal welfare. In July 2013 I was hired by the School of Veterinary and Animal Science of the University of São Paulo, Brazil. I am studying systems in the brain that promote optimal adjustment processes in animals and humans. Research Interests: My main research interest is in the role of environmental factors in shaping the adaptive responses of animals, including humans. I also have an interest in developing and validating indicators of animal welfare. I work with the following research areas: a) Impact of stress and disease in the organization of the brain in different species. b) Biomarkers of stress and animal welfare, in several species. c) Comparative studies of animal welfare, focusing on the factors that improve systems in the brain to promote successful adjustment. d) The impact of disease on animal welfare. e) The challenges prenatal and early neonatal and their effects on the brain and development results, including changes in behavioural expression, structure and genetics. f) Finally, I am interested in understanding attitudes toward pain and well-being in different animal species.
(Source: Lattes Curriculum)
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