Mariani / Savoini

Elena Mariani graduated with honours in Animal Husbandry Sciences and Technologies at the Università degli Studi di Milano. She discussed a thesis entitled “Correlation between blood levels of zinc, selenium and vitamin E and milk somatic cells count in dairy cattle". During her academic career, she worked as student tutor at the Department of Veterinary Science and Public Health (DIVET) and she won an excellence scholarship from Università degli Studi di Milano.

Giovanni Savoini is full professor in Animal Nutrition and Feed Technology at the Università degli Studi di Milano Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety (VESPA). Scientific director of the Animal Production Research and Teaching Centre at the Lodi’s headquarter of the Università degli Studi di Milano, coordinator of the PhD course in Animal Nutrition and Food Safety, and director of the school of specialization in Animal Nutrition. Since 2013, he is the vice-president of the Nutrition Commission of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP). He was the coordinator of two PRIN projects financed by the Ministry of Education, two projects financed by Regione Lombardia, of local units of one project financed by Regione Lombardia and of a project financed by Fondazione CARIPLO, he is also scientific responsible of several projects financed by private companies. Associate and section editor of the Italian Journal of Animal Science. His research activity mainly concerns with the study of physiological and pathological aspects of ruminant and monogastric nutrition and its role on animal health. He published 72 papers on international journals and holds an H-Index of 16 (SCOPUS).
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Research project
Nutrition as a tool to modulate production animal health

The growing world population is expected to reach about 9 billion people in 2050, meaning that there will be a strong pressure on farmers and animals to increase productivity, however further improvement by breeding is unconvincing.
Attention should now be paid to alternative approaches to yield higher productivity by reducing the loss in efficiency caused by disease and increasing feed efficiency.
Animals can undergo a situation of physiological imbalance especially during the postnatal and peripartal periods. In these critical situations, regulatory mechanism are altered, therefore, there is a major risk of metabolic and infectious diseases. Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining a good health status of animals as nutrients can modulate immune and inflammatory response. Feed additives, such as probiotics, prebiotics and plant extracts have been proved efficient in increasing animal performance, such as increasing milk and meat production and improving feed conversion, but information on the effects, and mechanisms, of feed additives on animal health are still scarce. Moreover there is a need of innovative additives and feeds that can improve organism defenses against diseases.
Aim of the project
The aim of the project is to study the mechanisms of action of new additives on animal health during crucial period of life of production animals, such as postnatal and peripartal periods. Experiments will be set up to study the incidence of diseases, and immune and inflammatory response, in young animals, calves, piglets and poultry, fed additives derived from plant extracts with antioxidant properties. To understand the mechanisms of action of these additives both traditional approach by measuring biomarkers of inflammatory and immune response, and more innovative approach through the study of expression of targeted genes in specific tissues, mainly liver, adipose and muscle will be used. Experiment with laboratory animals, in particular transgenic mice, will be set to understand oxidative stress mechanisms. More in detail, reporter mice are able to produce in vivo a biomarker easily detected by imaging technique.