This is an interview with a PhD student of the Disease Intervention Strategies projects in a series of background articles. Keep following this website for the next interview in this series.
Interview with Ingrid Cardenas Rey, PhD student of the project ‘In vitro and in vivo analyses and modulation of the chicken gut microbiome to combat AMR’ at Wageningen University and Research (Wageningen Bioveterinary Research).
After her study and internship, Ingrid Cardenas Rey started working as a heard health manager. There, most animals received the wrong antibiotics or the wrong doses. This was an eyeopener and one of her major reasons to move from veterinarian practice to research; to have more influence for change in the sector.
‘I first got in contact with the impact of antibiotics when I did my internships in the US after my veterinary medicine studies in Colombia. I realized that the use of growth promotors in dairy production was a common practice. After my internship, I started working as a heard health manager on a large farm in Australia. There, most animals received the wrong antibiotics or the wrong doses. I encountered disease re-incidence and treatment failure. Financial decisions seemed more important than animal health and welfare. This was an eyeopener and one of my major reasons to move from veterinarian practice to research; where I thought I could have more influence for change in the sector.’
‘Being in Australia, I met an alumnus from Wageningen University (WUR) who told me about the study opportunities and the high quality education at WUR in the Netherlands. I applied for an MSc scholarship and fortunately, I got it! So I did my Animal Sciences MSc with a focus in quantitative veterinary epidemiology and AMR. During my master’s second-year, I did my internship and major thesis at Wageningen Bioveterinary Research within the AMR group. Together with my supervisors I worked on plasmid-mediated fluoroquinolones resistance and a pilot-transition model to detect early changes in the Dutch monitoring of AMR in food production animals (MARAN). At the end of my MSc, I heard about the PhD position for this project, I knew I had to apply!’
‘In my PhD project, I will study the interplay between the chicken gut microbiome and ESBL (Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase) producing E. coli by using an in vitro chicken gut model. This innovative method will allow us to do ample research with controlled and monitored experimental conditions without animal ethical restrictions and with lower cost compared to animal experiments. For instance, we will test the effect of interventions (e.g. probiotics and prebiotics) in the transmission of multidrug-resistant plasmids in the chicken gut microbiota. Our research project holds interesting innovative, ethical and societal aspects; besides employing animal-friendly methodology, we also address a significant public and animal health concern as it is AMR, especially ESBL producing E. coli. During this exciting journey, I will be accompanied by my highly supportive PhD committee; Mike Brouwer, Teresita Bello Gonzalez, Kees Veldman and Arjan de Visser (WUR).’