The scholarship program for special visiting researchers ("Pesquisadors
Visitante Especial," or PVEs) aims to attract senior foreign
researchers recognized internationally as leaders in priority
areas, such as engineering, technology and health sciences.
Gates is one of 66 awardees this year. Under this award, Gates
will conduct projects with Brazilian research groups and is
expected to visit Brazil for up to three months annually for the
next three years.
The program funds a project in Brazil titled "Animal
Environments in Hot Climates: Tools and Intelligent Systems for
Evaluating the Thermal Environment and its Relation to Space and
Time in Laying Hen Facilities." The Federal University of Viçosa,
Minas Gerais, Brazil, is the host institution, and the project
includes a substantial team of multidisciplinary researchers
from multiple institutions.
Additional scholarships for doctoral students and
postdoctoral researchers at both Illinois and in Brazil are
included, providing Brazilian graduate students and researchers
opportunities for "sandwich programs" for training with Gates at
the AWES and BESS labs at Illinois.
"I have two doctoral students at the Federal University of
Viçosa now who are preparing their paperwork to come here for
training," said Gates. "I have been a member of the graduate
faculty at the Federal University of Viçosa since 2009, and as
far as I know, I'm the only American who can direct graduate
students, so this PVE program will provide added opportunities
for my U.S. and Brazilian students."
Gates said that his project seeks to improve the indoor
environment of laying hen facilities in tropical and subtropical
climates such as Brazil. It involves the design of alternative
facilities with improved insulation and mechanical ventilation,
and compares their operation with naturally ventilated
facilities. This study will develop guidelines for
energy-efficient hybrid systems of ventilation to maintain
productivity and enhance bird welfare while ensuring a safe and
sustainable egg supply system.
"The research focus of our project in
Brazil is to evaluate new ways to design and ventilate laying
hen houses," said Gates. "We just completed a yearlong study in
the AWES lab, looking at the effect of areal ammonia
concentration on laying hen preferences. Some of the alternative
housing systems that are being developed aren't ventilated very
well, and the ammonia levels can be higher than generally
[to top of second column]
"The AWES lab has an animal preference chamber with four
environmentally controlled compartments that allow us to give the
bird a clear choice among alternative conditions. For instance, will
they tolerate high ammonia levels if it is warmer, or do they prefer
cooler temperatures and low ammonia levels? That's a simple example
of what preference chambers can tell us.
"The AWES facility will provide a training component for the
students who come here, and then we'll all work together to develop
a set of protocols on how to conduct preference testing."
The proposal to receive Gates as a PVE was submitted by
Professora Dra Lêda Rita D'Antonio Faroni, the director of graduate
studies at UFV. The principal investigator, Professora Dra Ilda de
Fátima Ferreira Tinôco, is the Brazilian lead for the project.
"I'm excited and honored to have been selected by the Brazilian
government to receive this award," Gates said. "This will certainly
enhance opportunities for research and training collaborations
between our institutions."
Additional scientists from UFV and Illinois are involved in the
project, as well as researchers from the Federal University of
Lavras, the University of São Paulo at Pirassununga, the State
University of Campinas, the State University of Mato Grosso do Sul,
the Federal University of Espirito Santo and the National University
Funding is provided by the National Council for Scientific and
Technological Development, known as CNPq, and Coordination for the
Improvement of Higher Education Personnel, known as CAPES.
[Text from file received from the
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and