In their new role, they will align their research, and use their extensive knowledge and experience, to contribute to the Centre’s important work for the Irish dairy industry
Three Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) researchers have been successfully named Academic Collaborators (AC) at the VistaMilk Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre. Applications by Dr Anastasia Ktenioudaki, Dr Imelda Casey and Dr Sara Vero, from WIT’s School of Science and Computing, were recently accepted by the VistaMilk Executive Committee bringing the total number of ACs to nine across Walton Institute and WIT.
VistaMilk SFI Research Centre
The VistaMilk SFI Research Centre which is co-funded by SFI and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), aims to be an agent of growth for the Irish dairy industry by being a world leader in fundamental and translational research for precision pasture-based dairying. The overarching objective of the VistaMilk SFI Research Centre is to generate and deploy innovative basic and applied science and technologies to better understand and monitor the complex interactions across a highly inter-dependent food-production chain. This will be achieved by exploring four inter-dependent thematic areas – Soil, Pasture, Cow and Food - bringing together expertise in the biological sciences, sensor-systems, communications and networking, data analytics, and food processing.
Innovative, societally relevant research
By taking on the role of SFI Academic Collaborator, Dr Ktenioudaki, Dr Casey and Dr Vero will align their research, and use their extensive knowledge and experience including agri-food supply chain waste, lowering the carbon and ammonia footprints on dairy farms, nitrate transport, soil physics, nutrient transport at catchment scale, and farmyard infrastructure to provide focused contribution within the Centre.
Congratulating the new ACs on their achievement, Dr Geraldine Canny, Head of Research at WIT stated that she is delighted at the addition of these accomplished female researchers to the VistaMilk SFI Research Centre: “We wish Dr Ktenioudaki, Dr Casey and Dr Vero much success in conducting innovative, societally relevant research with a view to becoming Funded Investigators at the Centre in the future.”
Dr Anastasia Ktenioudaki
Dr Ktenioudaki is an assistant lecturer in the Department of Science at WIT. She obtained a PhD in Biosystems Engineering from University College Dublin in 2008, which assessed novel rheological and physical/chemical techniques for wheat quality evaluation. She worked as research officer at Teagasc Food Research Centre and had the opportunity to lead new product development and research projects in her previous role as a senior research and development scientist at Kerry Global Technology and Innovation Centre. She has recently completed a Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie global fellowship at University College Dublin and the University of South Florida, USA, focusing on an innovative systems approach to address existing agri-food supply chain waste. Her multidisciplinary skill set will support research in VistaMilk within the thematic area of food.
Dr Imelda Casey
Dr Imelda Casey is a lecturer in agriculture in the Department of Science at WIT. She is a University College Cork graduate and has a PhD in grassland agronomy from Queens University. Dr Casey is WIT principal investigator on several grassland projects including ‘DAFM Productivity of clover-based grassland under organic management and nitrate losses to ground water’, and more recently ‘DAFM Lowering the Carbon and Ammonia footprints of pasture based dairy production’. Joint publications with Dr Casey on nitrate leaching carried out at Teagasc Solohead, Co Tipperary, have been used as part of the case for establishing the nitrates derogation and nitrate policy in Ireland. Dr Casey is a very active member of the Eco-Innovation Research Centre at WIT (EIRC). She will have a positive impact on the pasture area at VistaMilk.
Dr Sara Vero
Dr Sara Vero is an assistant lecturer in Agricultural Science at WIT. Dr Vero has a Degree in Agricultural Science, a Master of Science from University College Dublin, and a PhD in civil engineering on the topic of soil science and hydrology from National University of Ireland, Galway. She conducted a post-doc at Kansas State University looking at prairie hydrology. She then returned to work with the Agricultural Catchments Program and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, before joining WIT. Dr Vero’s past research includes evaluation of time lag in nitrate transport, soil physics, nutrient transport at catchment scale, and farmyard infrastructure. Dr Vero is well positioned to contribute to the soil nutrient dynamics and pasture management spokes at VistaMilk.
Director at VistaMilk, Donagh Berry stated that, “I look forward to engaging with Anastasia, Imelda, and Sara on how we can jointly help realise VistaMilk's vision of developing and deploying impactful and innovative science for the Irish and global Agtech and dairy sector.”