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
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.
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"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 recommended.
"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