Meet undergraduate Maria Buzzelli

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Maria Buzzelli

Maria Buzzelli is a senior majoring in applied and resource economics. She has been involved in multiple research projects within agricultural and resource economics over her time at UConn and is currently assisting in the collection of data at farmers’ markets across New England. She is also actively involved in club volleyball and will be traveling for nationals later this month. She will be continuing her studies in the fall 2019 semester with an aim of improving her data analysis ability. Here is what she said about her time at UConn.

What attracted you to UConn? As a Connecticut resident, I was always amazed by the quality of education that UConn provides. It was an easy decision to apply to UConn and eventually attend because of the rave reviews from the alumni base. There are so many fields available to study and endless opportunity to get involved and find your passion. The sense of community and school spirit here at UConn is unparalleled.

What is your major, and why did you choose it? My major is applied and resource economics in CAHNR. I chose this field because of the multi-faceted education that it provides. The major includes business, economics and policy, all of which I am passionate about. This major allowed me to pursue my interest in natural resource management and policy. I feel that it has shaped my path and really allowed me to hone in on my career path. Continue reading

Virologist joins international effort to eradicate deadly animal disease

PPR threatens billions of livestock animals, including goats. Photo Credit: World Organisation for Animal Health.
PPR threatens billions of livestock animals, including goats. Photo Credit: World Organisation for Animal Health.

Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a highly contagious viral disease that affects small ruminants. The disease has a severe rate of morbidity and mortality for many domestic and wild animals, including sheep, goats, deer and antelope. The virus is found primarily in Africa, the Middle East and Asia and has most recently been detected in Southern Europe. While humans face no danger from the virus, 80 percent of the world’s goat and sheep live in parts of the world where they are at risk of contracting the disease and where the livelihoods of an estimated 900 million people rely upon these animals.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) embarked on a joint mission five years ago to eradicate PPR by 2030. A research partnership originating in the University of Connecticut Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science (PVS) is now poised to join this global fight.

Georgia and Armenia share a southern and eastern border, respectively, with Turkey. Photo credit: Google Maps.
Georgia and Armenia share a southern and eastern border, respectively, with Turkey. Photo credit: Google Maps.

Guillermo Risatti, an associate professor in PVS, is coordinating an international research team with the support of a $1.6 million grant award from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), an agency within the United States Department of Defense (DoD), to detect and monitor PPR in Armenia and Georgia. The two-year biosurveillance project aims at aligning their activities with the FAO and OIE joint strategy to combat the disease.

“This disease is widespread,” says Risatti. “It has affected many sheep and goats, which are an important source of food and an economic resource, especially for the poor, in these regions of the world. The FAO and OIE are invested in efforts in eradicating the disease. There is agreement that this virus is a serious problem.” Continue reading