Animal nutritionist Antonio Faciola joins CABNR faculty
Dr. Antonio Faciola has joined CABNR as an assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Veterinary Sciences.
Faciola, an animal nutritionist, earned his undergraduate and master's degrees from the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil, and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He did post-doctoral work at Cornell University and the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center.
Faciola said his research lab will focus on ruminant nutrition with the goal of improving animal production and minimizing the environmental impact of livestock operations in Nevada.
"I want to focus on the nutritional value of Nevada's forages," he said. "That information is very scarce in the literature, but research can help us understand better what cattle's requirements are, and that information can help producers save money on supplemental feed."
Faciola is already conducting a study that compares alfalfa hay, grass hay and forage kochia, looking at the nutritional value of each. This work is being conducted at both the Main Station Field Lab and in the laboratory. Faciola said it requires taking samples around the clock for 10-day stretches.
His lab is comprised of Dr. Teshome Shenkoru (research associate), Eduardo de Paula (Ph.D. student), Lorrayny Galoro (research scholar), Jamie Bunkers (masters student), and Yenling Yeh (undergraduate student). Faciola said that without a talented and hardworking group of people it would be impossible to conduct such work.
The overall goals of his lab are to:
- Better understand the mechanisms that regulate feed intake;
- Improve nutrient digestion, efficiency of nutrient utilization and conversion into milk and meat;
- Improve microbial growth in the rumen and its contribution to the animal's nutrient supply;
- Evaluate alternative ingredients and fine-tune diet formulation within the context of Nevada's agricultural realities;
- Develop new research techniques that improve accuracy and precision and reduce time and cost of experiments.
In his free time, Faciola, a former All-American triathlete, enjoys running and taking hikes with his dogs. Faciola hopes to soon be joined by his wife, Dr. Talline Martins, who is a plant geneticist and a NSF fellow at Duke University in North Carolina.