CAHFS Spotlight: Catalina Picasso

Our monthly series of CAHFS Spotlights highlights our residents, graduate students, faculty, and staff. This month, we're spotlighting PhD candidate Catalina Picasso who works within our Data Analysis Research Team at CAHFS.

What is your current position and field of study? I am a PhD candidate in the Veterinary Population Medicine Department. I started the PhD program in fall 2015 with interest in studying the epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle from different regions worldwide. My advisers are Andres Perez and Julio Alvarez.

How did you end up in your current position? I am originally from Uruguay, a country with a strong cattle production background. As a child, I was interested in animal health and the health of the people (farmers) who work with them. This interest led me to study veterinary medicine and to work particularly with those diseases that can be transmitted to humans (zoonosis). After graduating from veterinary school in Uruguay, I worked for a few years at the Live-animal International Trade Department at the Ministry of Livestock in Uruguay, basically on disease prevention and quarantine processes. As part of my training in risk assessment, I met Andres Perez and his work in several areas of Veterinary Epidemiology which awakened my interest in learning different epidemiological tools that could have a substantial impact in the animal and human populations. After a summer internship working with Andres at UC Davis, I had the luck of being selected to be part of his graduate students team in MN, and work with bTB.

How does your work relate to CAHFS? As part of the Data Analysis Research Team (DART) in CAHFS, I use quantitative epidemiological analytical tools helping to the improvement of global animal and public health.

What are you most passionate about professionally? I am passionate about elaborating plans to eradicate animal diseases in populations integrating epidemiological tools and the knowledge of those that own the problem (farmers, private sectors, government).

Where can we find you when you are not working? In my spare time, I enjoy outdoor activities and sports (yes! in summer and winter) and spending time with my family and friends.

Where did you grow up and why are you not there now? I grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay, as the youngest in a family of 4 children. My parents always encouraged me and my siblings to look for opportunities that could make us happy, even if meant going far from home. I found in MN the place in which I can pursue my passion and learn how to achieve my goals working with a fantastic group of people, which is why I am here.

Anything else you would like people to know about yourself? I see my PhD degree as the ideal vehicle to help me improve the well-being of animals and human populations in my country and many more. I am extremely grateful and honored to be part of the University of Minnesota research team, and I want to extend my knowledge and passion to different countries after I accomplish my PhD.

Learn more about our Data Analysis Research Team

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CAHFS News is a compilation of current topics and news updates in animal health, food safety, and veterinary public health.