With a new school year starting, we are excited to introduce you to our new team members who have joined us this fall! We will be interviewing our new team members to help you become acquainted with them as professionals, students and people.
I would like to formally introduce myself to all of you! My name is Brooklynn Liversidge and I am a new master’s by thesis student with the OVC Pet Nutrition team. Since I’m new here I would like to tell you a little bit about myself.
Who am I as a person?
If I had to describe myself as a person, I would say I am extremely hardworking, dedicated and passionate about helping animals. Since I was a young girl, I have always been fascinated with animals and nature. When asked that famous question “what do you want to be when you grow up” my answer was always I’m not sure, but I know I want to help animals one day. Regardless of any situation I am faced with, whether it be school, work, or sports I will always put 110% of my effort into the task at hand. I am extremely driven in all aspects of my life and continuously find paths where I can grow, improve and be the best version of myself that I possibly can.
What is my motivation in life?
Although this is a very cheesy answer, my motivation in almost every aspect of my life is my family. My biggest goal is to not only be proud of myself, but also for my family to be proud of me. My family has shaped me into the person I am today and have always supported me every step of the way. I was raised in a “you have to love animals” environment. Our home had dogs from the day I was born, and I don’t think I will ever see a time without a dog. Our pet collection over the years has ranged to include cats, ferrets, birds, degus and of course horses. My family motivates me every day to continue to expand my education in animal nutrition and pursue a career where I can help animals every day.
When and why did I become interested in nutrition?
With the help and guidance of my brother, I became interested in my own nutrition around the age of 17 and became really focused on my own health and ensuring I was providing my body with appropriate nutrients to function the best it can. From the love of managing my own nutrition as I was obtaining my undergraduate Honours Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Animal Biology from the university of Guelph in 2020, my interest in animal nutrition sparked. I was required to take a certain amount of nutrition classes in order to graduate, which is where I realized that any nutrition class I took, ended up being my favourite class of that semester. From there, I was fortunate enough to participate on a research project in equine nutrition which is where I fell in love with researching animal nutrition. My interest in animal nutrition just continued to grow and I began focusing and changing what I was feeding my own animals and knew that research in companion animal nutrition is what I wanted to land with my continued studies. I am just fascinated with how complex the digestive system is and the changes that will occur when different diets are being consumed.
Why did I choose this graduate program? What am I looking forward to most about it?
When I was in fourth year of my undergraduate program, I knew animal nutrition is what I wanted to study however, I was unclear on what species I wanted to focus on. I began to email and meet with many potential advisors of various species and I just couldn’t seem to find which one interested me most to pursue a masters in. I continued to meet with potential advisors until my friend who had just graduated asked if I had talked to Dr. Verbrugghe in the clinical studies department. I am very grateful for this suggestion as after my meeting with Dr. Verbrugghe, I knew companion animal nutrition was where I wanted to be. From there I began working with the team helping them with their ongoing research projects which sealed the deal for me that I wanted to be a part of this team and pursue companion animal nutrition. As I complete this program I am truly just looking forward to learning from this team of incredibly smart individuals and just learning as much as I possibly can about companion animal nutrition over these next two years.
The wonderful animals in my life
Even from this short introduction I’m sure you have gathered how much I love animals. I have always had animals in my life and often my friends describe me as “owning a small zoo”, but every animal that has been in my life has left a special imprint on it for the better. With that being said I should probably introduce the animals I currently own which bring so much joy into my life.
Here are my two dogs Dallas (left) and Sidney (right). Dallas is an 8-year-old Bernese mountain dog/ border collie cross and is one of the happiest dogs I have ever met. Sidney is a 2-year-old purebred Newfoundland who perfectly fits the description of a gentle giant.
This is my 10-year-old cat Polo. We don’t know too much about him as he came into our life when we found him in the engine of our car after getting home from my water polo game, hence the name “Polo”. He was just a brand-new little kitten full of love to give and our family knew he deserved a home, so he has lived with us ever since the day we found him.
Last but not any less loved, these are the two ponies in my life right now Jaccob (left) and Laker (right). Laker is a 13.2hh 15-year-old Clydesdale/Welsh cross who got every aspect of a Clydesdale just missed out on the height. They say every equestrian will eventually find their “heart horse” I never believed that until I met Laker who proved it to be true. Jaccob is a different story, we don’t know too much about him but can piece together from his behaviour that whoever had him at some point in his life wasn’t the nicest to him. For that reason, I knew he needed a second chance to learn what a happy life consists of and with a bit of time he has come around to show how talented and special he is.
My upcoming research projects
My masters by thesis program is focusing on investigating the digestibility, fecal metagenome, fecal microbiome, and fecal metabolome in adult healthy dogs on plant-based versus meat-based diets. This project was a very exciting opportunity for me to research as I hoped to be able to conduct my masters research on dogs. Canine nutrition is one of the main reasons for my interest in animal nutrition, so I am very excited for this upcoming project I have started.
Written by Brooklynn Liversidge, BScH, MSc Student (Department of Clinical Studies)
Edited by Shoshana Verton-Shaw, RVT, VTS (Nutrition)