Position/Title: PhD Student
B.Sc. Honours, major in Animal Biology (University of Guelph 2016-2020)
Growing up in Bangladesh, I was fascinated to see how quickly the general public embraced pet ownership over the last decade and how people altered their lifestyles around taking care of cats and dogs. This interest influenced my decision to pursue a major Animal Biology at the University of Guelph. I was happy to be received by a welcoming community here in Guelph which pushed me to join various extra curricular programs revolving around student wellness advocacy and assisting other international students within campus. I gained an interest in research after completing two independent course projects and working with Dr. Eduardo Ribeiro's team on the effects of organic trace minerals in transition dairy cow reproduction.
After completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, I felt motivated to pursue research projects related to companion animals under the guidance of my advisor Dr. Anna Kate Shoveller. Initially I started working in her laboratory as a Masters by thesis student, however I was offered a chance to transfer into a PhD after a year, a prospect that excited me to no end. My current project is focused on quantifying net energy within high protein and fibre diets fed to cats using indirect calorimetry. North American formulation for companion animals estimate metabolizable energy to determine energy content within diets. The issue with using these predictive equations is that they have been found to overestimate the required energy needed for maintenance, predisposing cats towards positive energy balance and increased risk of obesity. Net energy systems for feed formulation have been well established in agricultural species such as cows and pigs, and has been proposed to be included in other production animals such as chickens and rainbow trout. This provides an opportunity to investigate net energy within companion animals using calorimetry techniques. Changing macronutrient levels of protein and fibre from low to high intake could give insight on how cats are able to adjust their energy expenditure and the resulting impact on net energy. Furthermore, cats being the model for carnivorous species would highlight species specific differences in energy utilization. Using data available on gaseous kinetics gained from indirect calorimetry studies, a predictive net energy model can be proposed for feline diets, which would target energy balance better and reduce chances of long-term weight gain.
When I’m not busy with research work, I like to spend time pursuing my hobbies like reading graphic novels, watching films and embroidery.