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New prof seeks to integrate animal production data to improve livestock systems’ sustainability

April 2, 2023 — 

Dr. Gabriel Dallago joined the Department of Animal Science as Assistant Professor in Digital Livestock Production on March 1, 2023. Originally from Brazil, Gabriel became interested in data analysis and modeling in livestock systems after an internship in Canada, eventually completing his PhD at McGill University. He sees the many technologies in the industry as “pieces” of the livestock production “puzzle”, and by bringing them together hopes to understand the big picture.

Tell us about yourself.

I have a PhD in Animal Science from McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) and both bachelor’s and master’s in Animal Science from the Federal University of Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil). My research lives in the intersection between Animal and Computer Sciences. I am particularly interested in leveraging the flexibility of machine learning and deep learning algorithms to analyze data to obtain important information from biological and decision-making standpoints, with the ultimate goal of improving the sustainability of livestock production.

Why did you get into this area of study?

I was first exposed to data analysis while getting my bachelor’s degree. At that time, I did a short internship here in Canada at the Dairy Information System Group under the supervision of Dr. Wade and Dr. Lacroix. I was introduced to the data routinely collected on Canadian dairy farms and conducted a small project analyzing that data. That was a pivotal moment in my professional path. It sparked my interest in data analytical methodologies and modelling, and how that can be used to make informed and accurate decisions.

What are you seeking to explore with your research? 

My current research focuses on data integration. In today’s rapidly advancing agricultural landscape, we are witnessing an influx of novel technologies, each one covering a specific aspect of animal production, such as specific health issues and performance. These different technologies are all “pieces” of the livestock production “puzzle,” and we need to unify the data they generate to understand the big picture. That is where my research comes in. I seek to develop appropriate methods that can integrate data from heterogeneous sources and provide farmers with more accurate and actionable insights for decision-making, all while recognizing the unique characteristics of each animal.

Will you be teaching? What appeals to you about being a teacher?

I will be teaching a statistics course at the graduate level. What appeals to me most about teaching is the opportunity to mentor and guide students in their learning journey. As an Idealist Healer (INFP – Keirsey Temperament), I find it incredibly rewarding to help students develop their skills and knowledge and see them grow and succeed.

Any interesting stories you’d like to share about your career path to date?

Towards the end of high school came the critical life decision: What university degree will I pursue? I remember debating between animal science and computer science. I decided to go for animal science. I was determined to major in ruminant nutrition and eventually take over my family business back in Brazil. It all changed when I was exposed to the world of data analytics powered by advanced computer algorithms. I quickly realized my real interests were somewhere else. That was only possible because I had great professors who gave me the tools and guidance I needed to realize where my true passion lies. I hope to leverage my experiences and knowledge to inspire and guide future students.



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