Thank You Magda

Magda Benavides back to Brazil

Dr. Magda Vieira Benavides tenure in the Labex-USA program is over after 3 years of collaborative work. From March 2011 to March 2014, Magda developed her research activities in the Bovine Function Genomics Laboratory (BFGL) of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), which belongs to the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), located in Beltsville, Maryland. 

Her counterparts were Dr. Curt Van Tassel and Dr. Tad Sonstegard on the topic genetic resistance of hosts against gastrointestinal parasites. The results to date indicate that the heritability of the parasite egg counts in the feces is of medium magnitude (0.27) and the five most significant genetic markers explain 17.8% of the variation observed, suggesting that selection for resistant individuals could be used as a tool to reduce levels of parasitic infections in small ruminants.

Particularly, it was a enormous privilege to work with Magda, who had a very dynamic and extraordinary performance as a Labex researcher. During this period, Magda has intensified collaboration among Embrapa, ARS and other institutions such as New York Blood Center, CSIRO and NIH. Also, as part of the Animal Health research cluster she led the work carried out by Dr. Jalusa Kich, from Embrapa Swine and Poultry, as visiting scientist at ARS Ames, IA as well as Dr. Thadeu Barros, from Embrapa Pantanal, as a visiting scientist at Louisiana State University and USDA-ARS Knipling Bushland U.S. Livestock Insect Laboratory, Kerrville, TX. Their research areas were food safety (biological ways to control Salmonella) and insecticide resistance detection of horn flies (Haematobia irritans) and population control of stable flies (Stomoxys calcitrans), respectively.

Dr. Benavides has also been involved in promoting communication among Embrapa Animal Health Groups, USDA/ARS, and American Universities scientists to foster new scientific collaborations and to strengthen international partnership. New possibilities for collaboration have been discussed and implemented in areas such as bovine tuberculosis diagnostic test development and Mycobacterium bovis genomics between Embrapa Beef Cattle, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul and the USDA/ARS/NADC Infectious Bacterial Diseases of Livestock Research Unit, Ames/IA; bovine tuberculosis as a model to develop Corynebacterium paratuberculosis diagnostics and vaccines between Embrapa Goats and Sheep and USDA/ARS/NADC; development of bacterial vaccines for fresh water fish between Embrapa Fisheries and Aquaculture and USDA/ARS Aquatic Animal Health Research Laboratory, Auburn/LA; prawn viral diseases between Embrapa Mid-North Teresina/PI and CSIRO Queensland Bioscience Precinct Brisbane/QLD, Australia; international network on parasite resistance between Embrapa Southeastern São Carlos/SP and CSIRO McMaster Laboratory, Armidade/NSW; possible collaboration between Embrapa Beef Cattle and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency / Agence Canadienne d'Inspection des Aliments and Santa Catarina State's Animal Disease Office (CIDASC) to share Brucella bovis-free samples for diagnostic test development and discussions are underway with the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory at Geelong/VIC, Australia to host a BSL-4 course for Embrapa Swine and Poultry and Embrapa Beef Cattle scientists. Contacts have been made with CSIRO's Fish Diseases Laboratory to host a visiting scientist from Embrapa when Embrapa's overseas training programme resumes. Contact with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD and Embrapa R&D Department (Embrapa DPD) IT personnel has been established on data and text mining softwares to improve and speed grants evaluation process.

Labex-USA would like to thank Magda for all that great work and wish all the best on facing her new challenges in a new bench at Embrapa Aquaculture and Fishery.

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