Texas Tech University

Assistant Professor Looking to Reduce Economic Losses in Dairy Cattle Industry

Allen Ramsey

May 10, 2022

Clarissa Strieder-Barboza

Clarissa Strieder-Barboza received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the effects of ketosis in dairy cattle.

Texas Tech University's Clarissa Strieder-Barboza received a $300,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Cooperative Research Ed & Extension Service for the purpose of understanding the mechanisms leading to the development of ketosis dairy cows.

Strieder-Barboza, an assistant professor with a dual appointment in the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources Department of Veterinary Sciences and the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, aims to improve production in dairy cows by reducing the impact of ketosis, the natural metabolic process of burning fat cells to produce energy when carbohydrates are not available.

“Our ultimate goal is to reduce economic losses associated with decreased milk production, reproductive performance and welfare in cows that develop ketosis after calving,” Strieder-Barboza said.

By obtaining fat tissue from early lactation cows, both with and without ketosis present, and using novel genomics techniques such as single-cell RNA sequencing analysis, Strieder-Barboza believes her research can form the basis for developing new methods of preventing metabolic diseases.

“We expect to reveal how ketosis affects specific cell subtypes in adipose tissues using highly innovative techniques,” she said. “This work will be the basis for developing new nutritional and therapeutic interventions to prevent metabolic disease.”

According to Strieder-Barboza, ketosis may affect up to 80% of early lactation dairy cows. Understanding how ketosis affects fat tissue function, including its ability to break down during energy shortage, is crucial in developing preventative measures to help offset economic losses.

“The first step toward developing tissue- and cell-specific therapies against ketosis is identifying which cell subtypes are involved in fat tissue dysfunction,” she explained. “It's similar to what is being developed in human medicine to prevent and treat obesity and Type 2 diabetes.”

About the School of Veterinary Medicine

Thanks to the generosity of Amarillo and communities across Texas and the commitment of legislators from around the state, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo was established in 2018. In March 2021, the school was granted the all-important status of Provisional Accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (COE) and welcomed its first cohort of students in August 2021.

The School of Veterinary Medicine recruits and selects students with a passion to serve rural and regional communities. Its curriculum focuses on the competencies and skills necessary for success in practice types that support these communities. Texas Tech's innovative and cost-efficient model partners with the wider community of veterinary practices across the state to provide clinical, real-world experiential learning.