Top Honours for Canadian Dairy Scientists

Top Honours for Canadian Dairy Scientists

Congratulations to Canadian Dairy scientists, Drs. Anne-Marie de Passillé (University of British Columbia) and Ian Doohoo (Mastitis Network, University of PEI) for their inauguration as Honorary PhDs of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Helsinki on June 5, 2015 in Helsinki, Finland. The ceremony is a three-day event (declared as one of the finest in the Academic world…). The President of the Republic of Finland was also among the ten individuals receiving their Honoray PhD. What follows is the write up on each one provided by the University of Helsinki:

Adjunct Professor Anne Marie de Passillé

Anne Marie de Passillé is an internationally esteemed researcher focusing on the behaviour of production animals. She has retired from the position of senior researcher at Agri-Food Canada but continues her research work as Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia.

In 1995, Dr. de Passillé, and her husband working in the same field, started collaborating with the researchers of the then new field of science in Finland, the study of animal welfare and behaviour. It is largely due to her that the faculty’s researchers on the subject are today very well connected internationally and active in the scientific community. The teaching, guidance and research collaboration of the faculty with Anne Marie de Passillé has enabled the development of a once minor field of study into one of international renown.

Professor Ian Dohoo

Ian Dohoo is Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, Canada. He is a leading researcher in veterinary epidemiology who publishes actively. He is one of the pioneers in the creation of computer-based follow-up methods used in animal health research.

Prof. Dohoo has meritoriously taught the fundamentals of epidemiology to several generations of veterinarians. His courses, e.g. the yearly NOVA courses of the Nordic countries, have formed the basis for the epidemiological and statistical know-how of many Finnish researchers, and still continue to do so for the greater part of the doctoral students of the faculty. Furthermore, he has authored course books for veterinary epidemiology. Prof. Dohoo is an exceptionally motivating and good teacher who has been able to inspire his students. He has received several prizes for teaching and research as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Guelph and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

New!! DFC Research Investments and Activities in 2014

New!! DFC Research Investments and Activities in 2014
  • What are some of the paybacks from dairy research investments?
  • How are DFC investments being leveraged to maximize the number of research projects funded to meet Canadian dairy producers’ priorities?
  • Do you know the latest progress made in animal welfare research? Environment? Human nutrition and health?

A new annual publication called the DFC Dairy Research Highlights contains this information and more at:

Features include some of the paybacks from investments in research, a timeline of major research activities in 2014, key results from projects and a complete list of all projects in operation in 2014, including those financed in human nutrition and health under DFC’s Executive Scientific Advisory Committee.

For copies of the document or more information, contact Shelley Crabtree at

Dairy Research at the DFC Annual General Meeting – July 13-15, 2015

The Dairy Research Cluster booth was installed at the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s AGM from July 13-15 in Vancouver BC. The latest dairy research publications were distributed to farmers and industry contacts. Farmers and dairy representatives working in the equipment and banking sectors also took part in the “Have Your Say in Canadian Dairy Research” campaign by filling out the online survey at



UBC Tour: Dairy Research Excellence!

A special edition of the Dairy Research Update features the work of UBC researchers with projects financed by industry at the Dairy Research and Education Centre at UBC.

$10.3 Million invested in Genome-based research to improve feed efficiency and reduce methane emissions for dairy cattle

$10.3 Million invested in Genome-based research to improve feed efficiency and reduce methane emissions for dairy cattle

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Gerry Ritz announced on July 21st that $93 million would be invested through government-industry partnerships in genomic research in 11 projects in agriculture and aquaculture. Total federal government support for the projects amounts to $30.8 million. In dairy, $3.8 Million will be invested in a dairy cattle feed efficiency project led by Dr. Filippo Miglior of the Canadian Dairy Network & University of Guelph and Dr. Paul Stohard of the University of Alberta. With industry funding of $860,000 provided by the Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) and the DairyGen Council plus additional funding from partners like ALMA, the total project investment amounts to $10.3 Million.

CDN Chairman Gary Bowers said, “CDN is very pleased with the news from Genome Canada to fund this project, which will undoubtedly position Canada among world leaders in terms of the opportunity for genetic and genomic selection to improve efficiency and decrease methane emissions in dairy cattle”.

For a copy of the full press release.

Project Summary:  Increasing feed efficiency and reducing methane emissions through genomics: A new promising goal for the Canadian dairy industry

Project leaders: Filippo Miglior, CDN & University of Guelph; Paul Stothard, University of Alberta

Lead Genome Centres: Genome Alberta, Ontario Genomics Institute

Total funding: $10.3 million

Dr. Filippo Miglior of the University of Guelph and Dr. Paul Stothard of the University of Alberta are leading a team that will use genomicsbased approaches to select for cattle with the genetic traits needed for more efficient feed conversion and lower methane emissions. To date, it has been both difficult and expensive to collect the data required for such selection. The latest genomic approaches offer an opportunity to address these problems and collect and assess the required data to carry out the selection.

The results of this project will assist dairy farmers and the industry more broadly to develop cattle that will carry these two important traits. Farmers will save money (as feed is the single largest expense in milk production), while the international competitiveness of Canada’s dairy industry will increase. The environmental footprint of the dairy industry will also be reduced, in part due to lower methane emissions, but also because more feed efficient animals produce less manure waste. Broad application of the project’s findings will be enhanced by the involvement of several industry organizations and international research partners in the project, not only benefiting Canada’s dairy industry, but also contributing to global food security and sustainability.