Student Spotlight

Banner of a spotlight with text "Student Spotlight: Sophie Neumann"

Meet Sophie Neumann, a Master of Public Health candidate under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Papadopoulos through the department of Population Medicine (OVC) at the University of Guelph. Sophie is completing her summer practicum at the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO).

Image of Sophie Neumann sitting.

Sophie is currently working on a project that focuses on engaging Ontario veterinarians in One Health. She will be working to communicate concepts from One Health and public health to both veterinarians and the general public. Veterinarians are unique One Health practitioners who bridge the gap daily between human and animal health and will bring in environmental perspectives when dealing with zoonotic diseases such as rabies or leptospirosis. A study conducted by the CVO indicated that a large proportion of veterinarians do not directly link their work in clinical practice to the One Health approach.

Sophie’s project aims to identify the best way to effectively communicate the importance of veterinarians acting as both public health and One Health practitioners. Her approach uses knowledge translation and social marketing techniques to familiarize veterinarians with One Health related topics. Sophie also creates infographics to effectively convey One Health topics such as zoonotic disease transmission and antimicrobial stewardship. Antimicrobial stewardship is an interdisciplinary pursuit that encourages appropriate antimicrobial therapy. Informed antimicrobial therapy improves patient outcomes and limits the development of antimicrobial-resistant organisms. Additionally, Sophie will be investigating how COVID-19 has impacted veterinarians’ perceptions of their public health identity.

Image of Sophie Neumann holding an orange cat.

Before her Master’s, Sophie completed an honours B.Sc. in biomedical sciences from the University of Guelph. As a student in the MPH program, she has taken courses focused on health communication strategies, giving her a unique perspective for creating effective written and visual communication pieces. Sophie is currently working from her home in Toronto, ON due to COVID-19. When Sophie is not at work, she enjoys hanging out with her two cats, Merlin and Zeus.

Watch Sophie’s interview here:

Banner of a spotlight with text "Student Spotlight: Sydney Pearce"

Understanding One Health in education and research, and using One Health to combat antimicrobial resistance in the dairy industry

Sydney Pearce is a Ph.D. student studying Epidemiology with a collaborative specialization in One Health under the supervision of two One Health researchers; Dr. David Kelton and Dr. Jane Parmley.

As the president and founder of the One Health Student Committee (OHSC) at the University of Guelph, Sydney Pearce is a passionate One Health leader and is dedicated to engaging diverse undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary students in One Health. Through OHSC, Sydney has created a collaborative, inclusive, and enthusiastic team that has reached hundreds of students across campus through activities such as Networking Nights, seminars, journal clubs, and social events.

Headshot of Sydney Pearce.

In Sydney’s work as a Ph.D. candidate, she has brought together many aspects of the One Health approach and concept into a single graduate thesis. The objective of Sydney’s research is to understand factors associated with the use and adoption of One Health principles and practices, broadly and within the dairy industry specifically. To do this, she will conduct a scoping review of One Health literature, a One Health focus group study, a meta-analysis on the efficacy of a non-antibiotic alternative for preventing mastitis in dairy cows, and the development of knowledge translation tools, including a podcast series and a gaming app, that promote dairy antimicrobial stewardship practice.

Sydney’s definition of One Health is acknowledging the interconnections between animal, human and environmental health, but she also stresses the importance of recognizing that ‘environment’ consists of both the natural environment and built environments such as political, social, and economic systems. Her scoping review uses this definition to assess which self-identified One Health research articles follow this all-encompassing One Health approach, as well as what fields are the most and the least engaged in the approach. This information can help identify areas for One Health competency and awareness education. 

She applies this definition to all areas of her research; emphasizing collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking. Her One Health focus group study will bring together veterinary, medical and horticulture students to identify current One Health awareness, presence in education systems, perception, and provide an opportunity to collaboratively create ideas and methods to address health in a more holistic way among the student practitioners.

Image of Sydney Pearce with a black and white cow.

Sydney’s other projects will demonstrate how One Health can be used in dairy cow health management. Her systematic review and meta-analysis explore the efficacy of teat sealants as an alternative to antimicrobial treatment for mastitis and intramammary infections. These prevalent diseases have economic and welfare implications, and a large portion of dairy antibiotic use goes towards preventing them. Alternative prevention methods can help reduce the use of antibiotics and are key components of reducing antimicrobial resistance occurrence. She is also developing a podcast series, an interactive website, a gaming app and research papers, in teat sealants and other dairy antibiotic best practices, with the goal of understanding the optimal knowledge translation methods to facilitate learning and behaviour change in veterinarians and decision-makers. Her research team includes an engineer, knowledge translation specialists, and veterinarians. Sydney emphasizes that these specialists have different backgrounds and perspectives, and each is important, and have helped her enlarge her scope of the situation.

Through her research and active engagement in creating a One Health community, Sydney is positioning herself for a future career in epidemiology and health promotion, bringing her One Health lens with her wherever she goes.

“One Health gives us the ability to collaborate and look beyond ourselves and our knowledge sets; one single perspective often isn’t sufficient to solve complex issues or get a holistic view of a situation. Through targeted One Health education and awareness, we can increase our adaptability to these multidisciplinary teams and mixed methods approaches to tackle increasingly pressing complex questions like climate change, antimicrobial resistance and food security.” 

Sydney is a current and future leader in One Health and health promotion, and the One Health Institute congratulates her on her current and future success. 

Banner of a spotlight with text "Student Spotlight: Rene Sahba Shahmohamadloo"

The One Health Institute congratulates PhD candidate René Sahba Shahmohamadloo on his recent publication, and on being a semi-finalist for the Rockefeller Foundation’s 2050 Food System Vision Prize.

Image of Rene Sahba Shahmohamadloo walking along a brick path with trees.

Meet René Sahba Shahmohamadloo, a Ph.D. candidate pursuing a Doctorate in Aquatic Toxicology under the supervision of Dr. Paul Sibley through the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph.

Rene’s work looks at the mechanisms of toxicity and risks from consumption of fish that are exposed to cyanotoxins made by harmful algal blooms.

Rene acknowledges the connections between his applied research and the field of One Health, recognizing the interconnections between humans, animals and the environment.

“The wellbeing of each contributes to the wellbeing of the collective”

Microcystins (“the most infamous family of cyanobacteria”) are bacteria present in multiple geographic locations and are known to cause death to humans, animals and invertebrates. Anthropogenically induced global rising temperatures are catalyzing these harmful blooms, which may result in devastating effects on freshwater systems upon which humans are so dependent.

René and his supervisor, semi-finalists for the Rockfeller Foundation’s 2050 Food System Vision Prize, have recently submitted their refined proposal that includes an underlying emphasis on One Health. The prize is an “invitation for organizations across the globe to develop a vision of the regenerative and nourishing food system that they aspire to create by the year 2050.”  

René’s vision is focused in Southwestern Ontario, and aims to develop a framework that minimizes the environmental impact of the growing agricultural demands without sacrificing production or the livelihood of farmers. Their refined proposal constructs an image of a food production system where “food security, ecosystem health, and human health are explicitly integrated”. Their solution incorporates policy recommendations, management practises for farmers, and the participation of governments and government incentives.  

Learn more about René here: