The Research Doctorate in Veterinary Science for Animal Health and Food Safety is the evolution of the Doctoral School in Veterinary Sciences (SDSV) and inherits the main research areas:
- Health and welfare of farm and wild animals:
- study of the impact on environmental and human health of bacterial, viral and parasitic zoonosis (immunology and immunopathology, immunogenetics, epidemiology, diagnosis and control strategies and prevention);
- study of the kinetics, dynamics and proper use of veterinary drugs.
- Health and welfare of pets and horses:
- nutritional aspects, diagnosis and treatment of behavioural, reproductive and cardiovascular disorders, oncology;
- infectious diseases and infestations focusing on the comparative study of models for similar human diseases.
- Safety and quality of animal products:
- development of molecular methods able to identify microbiological and chemical risk factors (illicit growth-promoters, environmental contaminants) prevention of transfer to the consumer;
- development of technologies for processing and preservation so as to maintain high standards of quality, especially for the "Made in Italy" sector.
- Basic and experimental veterinary science study of cellular growth and differentiation:
- migration processes and biological mechanisms;
- related biotechnological applications in the veterinary field in a physiological context (with particular reference to stem niches) or pathological (dedifferentiated cancer and neurodegenerative diseases) in experimental animals and those of veterinary interest.
The research methodologies developed in the Research Doctorate include both experimental research, mainly applicative, but also in the field. The former benefits from recently acquired departmental laboratories and equipment (e.g. confocal microscopy, sequencing, flow cytometry, MALDI-TOF, imaging diagnostics), the availability of an experimental enclosure and shelter for large animals, as well as numerous collaborations/agreements with institutions of international scientific excellence. The research field makes full use of contacts with the Public Animal Husbandry Institutes, National Reference Centres, qualified professionals and Free Veterinary Hospitals (Department of Animal Pathology) for data collection or the availability of samples from clinical cases and pets.
The research topics outlined above are covered in the National Research Plan 2010-2012 of the Italian Government, particularly in relation to the defence of the "Made in Italy" sector (food industry) and development of diagnostic methods and prevention of zoonosis and diseases from residues of xenobiotics (health and life sciences) and VII European Union Framework Programme (Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy: safer, healthier and higher quality foods free from contaminants and pathogens, prevention and control of epizootic and zoonotic disease, animal health).
The Research Doctorate emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach and also highlights how some lines of research are partly funded by, or conducted in collaboration with, private companies (retailers, manufacturers of diagnostic kits, the agri-food companies, pharmaceutical companies).
The skills expected at the end of the completion of four years of doctoral course in line with those provided by the "Dublin Descriptors" for the third level (doctorate) in relation to:
- acquisition of skills and in-depth knowledge of issues concerning the research project and the methodologies necessary to perform it;
- ability to design and develop an original research project that represents a significant advancement of knowledge in a given sector, objectification through the establishment of one or more peer-reviewed scientific publications;
- synthesis and processing of personal knowledge and results obtained;
- communication skills and exposure to scientific topics to be achieved through regular meetings and journal clubs with other graduate students, participation in conferences, etc..;
- ability to transfer skills acquired (cultural and methodological) within the university structure.
Periodic checks will ensure the achievement of these skills.
The professional profile obtained through participation in doctoral courses will focus on research, experimentation and dissemination of innovative techniques in the industry but also on the training of highly qualified operators in the various fields of the veterinary profession.
The aim of the Research Doctorate in Veterinary Science for Animal Health and Food Safety is therefore to provide a title recognised not only in academia but also in institutions and public and private research institutes (e.g. Experimental Animal Husbandry Institutes) including private companies in relation to the numerous research topics developed. In this respect, it is hoped that the regulations regarding the recognition of the title of PhD will be recognised for participation in public competitions for a career in the National Health Service.