Poultry CRC deliver competent personnel to industry

Masters of Science in Agricultural – Mr Daniel Cook

In early April, on the lawns of Booloominbah at the University of New England, the Sciences, Health and Medicine Awards Graduation Ceremony was held. Poultry CRC supported student Mr Daniel Cook graduated with a Master of Science in Agriculture. His thesis, titled Incidence and prevalence of Campylobacter in free range meat chickens compared to intensively farmed meat chickens, was undertaken while working full-time for Ingham’s Enterprises.

Masters graduate Mr Daniel Cook
Masters graduate Mr Daniel Cook

Daniel, who commenced his Masters under the first round Australian Poultry CRC, spoke to us about his experience. “I had been working for Ingham’s for around eighteen months when Mingan (Poultry CRC CEO) came up to talk to us in the lab and said, this is what the CRC can offer”. After completing an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science, Daniel wanted to further his study but also wanted to get into the industry. He therefore jumped at the chance to be able to do both with the support of the CRC and his employer.

Daniel’s project conducted an analysis of the epidemiology of Campylobacter in free range and intensively reared chickens in an Australian integrated poultry operation. His research identified that Campylobacter incidence does not differ between the two rearing systems. This means, as Daniel explains, “the control of bacteria levels on finished poultry products is important in any production system to reduce the potential for poultry-related food borne illness”.

With his interest in biomedical and food science, Daniel believes he has been fortunate to work in the poultry industry, where he can satisfy these interests. “I am enjoying every minute of working with Ingham’s, and look forward to my future here”, said Daniel. “I’d like to thank the Poultry CRC for supporting me during my Masters candidature”.  With his Masters now complete, Daniel is looking forward to a break from study to concentrate on work and his young family.

Doctor of Philosophy – Dr Reza Barekatain

Another graduate on the day was Dr Reza Barekatain. Reza completed this PhD thesis at UNE under the supervision of Associate Professor Paul Iji, with co-supervision by the CRC’s Professor Mingan Choct. Although not directly supported by CRC funding during his candidature, Reza has enjoyed close ties with the CRC throughout his time at UNE. His Thesis is titled Growth, Nutrient Utilisation and Gut Health of Broiler Chickens Fed Sorghum Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles.

Professor Bob Swick and Dr Reza Barekatain
Professor Bob Swick and Dr Reza Barekatain

Since Reza submitted his thesis he has been employed as a post-doc at UNE working with Professor Bob Swick and Associate Professor Paul Iji on two CRC projects, namely, Replacing supplemental oil with full fat canola seed in broiler diets (Swick) and Use of novel protein sources and improved starter feed formulation for broiler chicks (Iji/Swick). “These are very exciting areas to be working in, for example, we are experimenting with the introduction of novel proteins, delivered in the diet early in life, that may boost bird performance right up to market weight” said Reza.

Reza reflected on his CRC connections, “I have always enjoyed the support of CRC staff, in particular my co-supervisor Mingan. I was also lucky enough to be the first to use the calorimetric chambers constructed for the joint RIRDC/CRC ‘net energy’ project as part of my PhD experiments” he said. Reza has also made many friends among other Poultry CRC students scattered throughout Australia.

Speaking of his future plans, Reza said he couldn’t anticipate too far into the future. “I want to remain here (UNE) and in general, academia, for a few years to gain more experience engaging in various poultry research topics. Then I may be more open to commercial opportunities particularly in the research and development sector” he said. No matter where his path may take him, the poultry industry has gained another high quality research scientist.

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