Amy Vasquez' Research

I graduated from Cornell with Biology and Animal Science degrees in 2005. I then attended vet school at my Alma Mater and received my DVM in 2009. After practicing veterinary medicine on dairy cows in the central California for 5 years, Cornell couldn't keep me away and I returned to become a student again. As a PhD candidate working closely with the veterinarians and technicians at Cornell University, I enjoy being able to observe environmental factors and cow interactions at a dairy and subsequently use tangible microbiological results to recommend treatments on a case-by-case basis or herd-level recommendations based on the typical ecology of pathogens on a particular dairy. I would like to use my current knowledge and skills to broaden my understanding of bovine mastitis; comprehension of the dynamics of such infection or inflammation can lead to the promotion of practical and prudent administration of products or protocols that increase productivity and quality as well as protect and endorse milk for its human health qualities as opposed to its human health risks.

Regarding my current research, a paucity of science-based herd health protocols (involving or dismissing antibiotic use) exists at the level of the conventional dairy; I believe that the clinical trials that we are currently performing can change that. One trial that I am currently working on is a selective dry cow therapy protocol. The expected results should indicate that selective therapy guided by on-farm indices has the potential to decrease preventative intrammammary antimicrobial use by more than 60%. Additional grants for this project include shotgun sequencing to determine presence of resistance genes in colostrum.

In the Van de Walle lab, I am currently evaluating the antimicrobial properties of bovine mammary stem/progenitor cells. This is the first work of its kind and preliminary results of our antimicrobial studies indicate that conditioned media from both bovine mammary stem cells and bovine mammary fibroblasts contain substances that substantially impact the in vitro growth of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphyloccus aureus organisms. Conditioned media might offer a future alternative to antimicrobial treatment of clinical mastitis.