Mariana Roedel Lopez Vieira Peixoto

Ph.D. Candidate

I began my undergraduate degree in Biology but switched to Animal Science when I discovered the fascinating possibility of working with animals to feed the world. During my undergraduate career I had the opportunity to conduct research in fish nutrition, horse behaviour and poultry welfare.

Born and raised in Brazil, I first came to Guelph in 2014 as an undergraduate internship student to work with the Poultry Welfare Group under Dr. Tina Widowski’s supervision. After completing my internship and receive my undergraduate degree, I started my M.Sc. in the Animal Welfare and Behaviour graduate program still with Dr. Widowski.

My research is based on the hypothesis that maternal stress in different strains of laying hens can influence and affect the behavioral development of the offspring. In order to analyze that, I will be conducting gene expression and epigenetic analysis (DNA methylation studies). The importance of this research is the possibility to address an actual welfare issue - the occurrence of epigenetic transfer of behaviour and stress -, through behavioural tests and genetic expression, with application to egg production by working with commonly used laying strains.