Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

In the Limelight: Bec Barnewall


Associate Professor Jane Quinn, Dr Michael Campbell (Charles Sturt University), Dr Ian Marsh (NSW Department of Primary Industries Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute [EMAI]), Ms Narelle Sales (NSW DPI EMAI) and Adjunct Prof Paul Cusack (ALPS, Charles Sturt)

Thesis title:

Development of an emerging diagnostic technology for early identification of respiratory pathogens associated with bovine respiratory disease

Funding body:

MLA Donor Company funded project, “Monitoring health and welfare using emerging diagnostic technologies in the beef feedlot sector”, where Charles Sturt is collaborating with NSW DPI (EMAI).

Relevant Current Employment:

I am employed casually at NSW DPI EMAI as a technical officer where I am currently working in the serology department helping with organisation and National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) associated paperwork.

Career and studies till now:

Bachelor of Animal Science, Bachelor of Animal Science (Honours I)

ORCiD profile:

Currently studying:

Doctor of Philosophy (Animal Science)

Research Interests:

My research interests include the role of individual pathogens in the pathogenicity of bovine respiratory disease (BRD), how to earlier detect these pathogens and thus diagnose BRD and the impact of BRD associated pathogens on production parameters, both pre and post slaughter.

A typical day for me includes:

Early morning visit to the gym followed by tackling the morning Sydney peak hour traffic to get to work, then either computer or lab work.

My main project at the moment is:

Bec BarnewallCurrently I am focused on creating, optimising and validating a method for earlier detection of both viral and bacterial pathogens associated with BRD. Bovine respiratory disease is the leading cause of clinical disease and death in feedlot populations worldwide and is the most prevalent disease in feedlot cattle, veal calves, weaned dairy heifers and weaned / unweaned beef calves. The multifactorial nature of BRD means management and diagnosis of the disorder is very difficult. There are currently five bacterial and ten viral pathogens associated with BRD as well as numerous behavioural and environmental factors. Many pathogens associated with BRD are associated with other cattle diseases including; pneumonia, reproductive loss, mastitis and arthritis. Therefore early detection of pathogens associated with BRD is likely to minimise the economic impact of disease across multiple livestock industries.

I am also in the process of collating data from our year 1 sampling. To date we have sampled 689 cattle from two feedlots.

My favourite part of my studies is:

My favourite part of my studies is getting in to the lab and trialing new technology. I appreciate the opportunities I am given with my studies to gain an in-depth knowledge about these technologies and push them to their full potential. This enables me to determine how different technology can potentially be used in my research now and in the future.

When I am not studying I like to:

Go to the gym, draw and go four wheel driving up the mountains on weekends.

When I am driving I like to listen to:

A variety of genres of music, it really depends what mood I am in.


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