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New Hire Dipti Pitta

PD Staff Published on 16 September 2011
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Dipti Pitta
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Assistant Professor in Ruminant Nutrition
Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center
University of Pennsylvania

Please describe your agricultural background.
I am a veterinarian by profession and my curiosity about nutrient metabolism led me to specialize in ruminant nutrition. My research experience is extensive and extends to a wide range of expert areas, such as forages, environmental issues, animal nutrition, microbiology, biometrics and food safety.

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I have worked closely with farmers from India, New Zealand and the U.S. to demonstrate research findings and improve agricultural land use and animal production.

What education are you bringing with you to this position?
My expertise is in ruminant nutrition and microbiology. My veterinary and nutritional background together will be an asset to achieving my goals and establish a research program here at Penn Vet.

What are your new responsibilities?
My primary area of responsibility will be to work with dairy cattle nutrition, with an emphasis on rumen microbiology. Because they are responsible for conversion of dietary feed to milk, working with rumen microorganisms is exciting and fascinating.

I will take advantage of the high-throughput sequencing platforms that can sequence community DNA and help us to understand microbial diversity and their role. This screening of microbial profiles as a function of diet, stage of lactation, feed additives and many more variables will be a novel approach to improve food animal production.

How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
Increasing feed costs, the variety of feeds to chose from and limited information about nutrient metabolism in the animal are all problems confronting farmers today.

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One of my goals is to come up with a more user-friendly approach to feeding that enables dairy farmers to choose feeds that are inexpensive but have higher feed efficiencies to maximize milk production.

This could be achieved by incorporating high-throughput data on microbial diversity and their metabolic potential in the rumen on a given feed into precision models being developed at Penn.

What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
My primary goal is to benchmark feeding strategies by working with producers and dairy farmers to come up with amicable solutions that are practically feasible and ultimately result in sustainable food animal production. One approach would be to expose dairy personnel to the benefits and applications of advanced genomic technology that has revolutionized the microbial world.

Furthermore, I would like to expand my expertise and come up with a multi-disciplinary program that can address a wide variety of agricultural, animal and environmental issues while simultaneously working on some of the issues related to animal health and welfare in particular. I believe that Penn Vet will provide the best platform to accomplish my research goals. PD

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