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G. Andres Contreras (view larger image)

We asked a few early-career Michigan State University researchers and educators to respond to a set of questions and answers about themselves from who inspires them to their favorite food.

G. Andres Contreras

Assistant Professor, MSU Large Animal Clinical Sciences

RESEARCH: My research program is focused on adipose tissue biological and pathological changes during disease and negative energy balance and its implications to dairy cattle health, especially during the periparturient period. Currently our lab is working on elucidating the effect of the interactions among different adipose tissue cellular components on the rate of fat mobilization around parturition. In the past I have been involved in two large integrated projects. The first one focuses on reducing mastitis-related antibiotic use in dairy cattle while improving milk quality and the second seeks to improve transition cow health though preventive diagnostics.

JOINED MSU: I’ve worked in my current position since 2013. However, I started in MSU back in 2006 as an intern in the Large Dairy Internship Program.

EDUCATION: I obtained my veterinary degree from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. My master’s and PhD degrees are from MSU.

HOMETOWN: Bogota, Colombia

MUSES: The landscape of the eastern prairies of Colombia. Behind the peaceful scenery there is a vibrant ecosystem that amuses me every time I visit.

FAVORITE FOOD: Seafood, Colombian Style Shellfish Stew

FAVORITE SONG/GROUP: Gypsy Kings and Joe Arroyo, a Colombian salsa singer

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

PERSON I’D MOST LIKE TO MEET:  Thomas Piketty, author of “Capital in the twenty first century”

Cholani Kumari WeebaddeCholani Kumari Weebadde

Assistant Professor and Plant Breeder for International Programs, MSU Plant, Soil & Microbial Sciences

RESEARCH: I first started as a faculty member at MSU in December 2005 and my initial appointment was with the Institute of International Agriculture (IIA) in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As the Associate Director of the World Technology Access Program (WorldTAP), I was involved in a number of capacity-building projects and biotechnology policy research around the world, which were 100 percent externally funded. These projects greatly enhanced my networks across continents as well as within MSU.

JOINED MSU: As a PhD student in August 2000

EDUCATION: BSc – University of Colombo, Sri Lanka (Botany Major); PhD – Michigan State University (Dual Major – in the College of Natural Science Genetics Program and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Plant Breeding and Genetics Program)

HOMETOWN: Colombo, Sri Lanka

MUSES: As a plant breeder, what inspires me is the work of Dr. Norman Borlaug, father of the green revolution and the man who fed the world. I am inspired by his commitment to alleviating hunger and poverty in the world through crop improvement…What inspires me as a teacher is the commitment my parents made to educate children. They were both excellent teachers and firmly believed in “no child left behind…” I always wonder how best I could use my knowledge, experiences, networks and the excellent facilities at MSU to enhance collaborative research to ultimately contribute towards feeding the world. I also wonder what more I can do to follow the footsteps of Dr. Borlaug while being a good mother to my soon to be 6-year-old daughter.

FAVORITE FOOD: Sri Lankan milk rice

FAVORITE SONG/GROUP: I love music! I have too many favorite songs and groups to mention here.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: “The man who fed the world” by Leon Hesser. This is the biography of Dr. Norman Borlaug. Probably one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.


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