In my current position as a mammary gland physiologist at the Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, my research focuses on multifaceted aspects of dairy cattle biology, including:
Mammary gland-bone axis involvement in the regulation of calcium homoeostasis during lactation
Project: Determination of the optimum safe dose of PTHrP to induce bone mobilization and calcium metabolism in Holstein cows (Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty enhancement award – Dr. Laporta)
Environmental and nutritional factors affecting cellular and molecular processes of the mammary gland during involution and lactation
Project: Impact of heat stress on cellular events in the mammary gland during the dry period (USDA-NIFA – Dr. Dahl)
Project: Identification of pathways and cellular processes in the mammary gland and evaluation of plausible transgenerational effects of heat stress causing impaired milk production (Climate change UF-IFAS – Dr. Laporta, Dr. Skibiel, Dr. Dahl, Dr. Penagaricano)
Project: Effect of OmniGen-AF and heat stress on mammary remodeling during the dry period and subsequent productive performance and immune status (PHIBRO Animal Health – Drs. Dahl & Laporta)
In-utero (pre-natal) and ex-utero (post-natal, colostrum and milk-borne factors) programing of calf physiology, health and performance
Project: Effect of Omnigen-AF supplementation to heat stress cows during late gestation on colostrum quality, igg absorption, immunity, health and performance of their calves (PHIBRO Animal Health – Dr. Laporta)
Project: Effects of the level and duration of maternal DCAD diets precalving on calf growth, immunity, energy and mineral metabolism (Milk Check-off – Dr. Laporta & Dr. Santos).
The ultimate goal of my research program is to integrate the knowledge of mammary gland biology with advances in management and nutrition to strengthen cow and calf health and performance.
Alongside my research program, I teach two undergraduate and graduate level courses introducing students to concepts in animal physiology, lactation and mammary physiology with an emphasis on livestock species.