Research Week 2021 One Health: Food for Thought

Nov 12, 2021
A man speaking at Research Week 2021

Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet) was more than happy to welcome back Research Week and the celebration of One Health Day to the campus, after a hiatus in 2020 due to global pandemic conditions. A number of students and faculty participated in the weeklong events that ran from November 1 through November 5, 2021. This year’s theme, One Health: Food for Thought addressed the global challenge to feed, house, and provide a healthy life for the growing human population while preserving the environment and resources.  Showcasing research from faculty, students, and guest presenters, the event celebrated how the One Health approach could address food safety, sustainable food production, and environmental stewardship. 

“It is increasingly important for those of us who are preparing students in the animal health, human health, and environmental health continuum to coordinate efforts on behalf of local and global communities,” said Dr. Sean Callanan, Dean of RUSVM. “As a veterinary school, we are committed to preparing graduates in approaches that recognize the interconnection of health across the ecosystem by bringing a focus to recognizing zoonoses (animal-borne diseases) food safety and security, species extinction and habitat loss.”

A man speaking in front of a podium at Research Week 2021

The week kicked off on Tuesday, November 2, for our students. Our DVM and Graduate students participated in an online group discussion around teamwork and leadership in One Health.

In-person events kicked off on Wednesday, November 3—the sixth annual International One Health Day. The morning welcomed our 3-Minute Thesis student presentations. Ten students had three minutes, and a single, static slide, to present compelling and engaging talks on their research topic. Congratulations to our winners: Daniel Guevara, Class of ‘23-1st place, Brittany Berger, MSc by Research-2nd place, Alexis Hall, Class of ‘23-People’s Choice. Attendees were then treated to keynote speaker, Dr. Tracey Challenger ’99, Ross Vet alumna, and Director for the Ministry of Agriculture in St. Kitts.

Dr. Challenger was amongst the first graduates from the Master’s in  One Health program in 2017 and now, as the Director of the Ministry of Agriculture in St. Kitts, shared with us her views on how One Health provides the framework for engaging a targeted, multidisciplinary approach to shaping local and regional policies aimed at enhancing food safety and food security in St. Kitts and across the wider Caribbean Region. 

A group of students listening to a speaker at Research Week 2021

In a June interview with Q95 News, Dr. Challenger said, “Over the coming decades, a changing climate, growing global population, rising food prices, and environmental stressors will have significant yet uncertain impacts on food security. Adaptation strategies and policy responses to global change, including options for handling water allocation, land use patterns, food trade, post-harvest food processing, and food prices and safety are urgently needed.” 

On Thursday, November 4, Ross Vet greeted guest speakers for our Evening Symposium:

  • DR. TRACY CHALLENGER, BSc, DVM, MSc, Director, Ministry of Agriculture, St. Kitts. Dr. Challenger is involved in shaping local and regional policies aimed at enhancing food safety and food security in St. Kitts and across the wider Caribbean region.   
  • ASPINAS CHAPWANYA, BVSC, BSC, MVM, Ph.D., Associate Professor Therionology RUSVM, and NNINIAN CAMERON BLAKE, Clinical Instructor and MSc by Research Candidate RUSVM. Both have worked on initiatives to introduce two breeds to St. Kitts and Nevis that will introduce genetic diversity and improve the weaning rates of local cattle and goats.  The projects rely on the extensive participation of RUSVM DVM students. In partnership with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, these projects are designed to guarantee food safety. 
  • STUART LAPLACE, Founder/Proprietor of Green Leaf and Director of St. Kitts-Nevis Bureau of Standards. Mr. LaPlace is a published author in hydroponics and general biology.
  • DR. LEIGHTON NARAINE, Ph.D., MA, BA, Director of Employee and Programme Development, Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC). Dr. Naraine serves as a member of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Commission for UNESCO and became an expert on the UNESCO Technical and Scientific Advisory Group (Uruguay Headquarters) for Bioreserves and Geoparks.
  • MR. MELVIN JAMES, Agricultural Development Advisor, Former Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, St. Kitts. Mr. James’ goal is to contribute to the sustainable development of St. Kitts and Nevis and to the wider Caribbean, particularly through pest management to sustain the value of the region’s agriculture and economies.
  • RANIA SIAM, MBBCh, Ph.D., Course Director and Professor of Microbiology. Professor Siam holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the faculty of medicine, McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She also held positions at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and The Scripps Research Institute.

Guest speaker topics ranged from the introduction of new breeds to the island of St. Kitts to using Sargassum as a Farming Resource to Crop Farming, Green Tilapia Growth strategies, and Environmental Explorations using Genes.

Thank you to our speakers for bringing the One Health approach to life through engaging presentations and question/answer sessions.

Thursday also saw the announcement of our student poster and infographics winners. Congratulations to:


Yash Patel-1st Place

Certificate in One Health (online)

Meat vs Made – Impact of Beef and Plant-Based Meat

Jennifer Schoonmaker-2nd Place

MSc by Coursework in One Health (online)

T Gondii: Cat-Borne Threat to Farms

Hailey Dodge-3rd Place

MSc by Coursework in One Health (online)

Sources of Estrogenic Environmental Contaminants

Ailbhe King-People’s Choice

MSc by Research

Colostrum:  The Liquid Gold for Calf Health


Maurice Matthew-1st Place

 RUSVM Ph.D. Candidate

A Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP)

Assay Specific to Trichomonas Tenax is

Suitable for Use at Point-Of-Care

Supervisor: Dr. Yao

Janejila Yodvilai-2nd Place

RUSVM DVM, Class of 2023

Lionfish (Pterois volitans) Gut Bacteria

and Bacterial Resistance

Supervisor:  Dr Navarrete Talloni

Sabrina Bailey-3rd Place

RUSVM DVM, class of 2023

Effects of Two Continuous Infusion Doses of Lidocaine on Isoflurane

Minimum Anesthetic Concentration in Chickens

Supervisor:  Dr Escobar

Sabrina Bailey-People’s Choice

RUSVM DVM, class of 2023

Effects of Two Continuous Infusion Doses of

Lidocaine on Isoflurane

Minimum Anesthetic Concentration in Chickens

Supervisor:  Dr Escobar

Ross Vet’s week-long event concluded on Friday, November 5 with our MSc in One Health students presenting their projects and participating in an online roundtable discussion.

Thank you to all who attended events and made research week a success!

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