Alltech Young Scientist inspires confident research

  • Jonas de Souza, pictured with Dr. Aoife Lyons, director of educational initiatives and engagement at Alltech, says the Alltech Young Scientist program has given him new confidence in presenting his research. Jonas won the 2017 global graduate title with his research work on improving the feed efficiency and energy metabolism of dairy cows.

        I was born in Chapeco City, Santa Catarina State, Brazil. I grew up in a small city, where my parents raised dairy cattle. That is when my interest in studying dairy cattle began. After I finished high school, I was sure that I wanted to study animal science, and I completed my bachelor’s degree in animal science at Santa Catarina State University. I received my master’s degree from the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture at the University of São Paulo, where my research evaluated the effects of fatty acid supplementation on the performance and metabolism of dairy cows grazing tropical pastures. My doctoral dissertation at Michigan State University examines the effects of altering the dietary ratio of fatty acids on the energy partitioning of dairy cows under different physiological conditions.


My first study from my research in Michigan was the base for my application to the Alltech Young Scientist program. My research has focused on altering the fatty acid profile of dairy cow diets and how that impacts feed efficiency and energy metabolism in dairy cows. The results suggest that different fatty acids can alter energy partitioning between the mammary gland and adipose tissue, which may allow for the application of different fatty acids in different situations according to the metabolic priority and needs of dairy cows. This may provide key information on how to group cows to properly feed them to meet their requirements and maximize milk fat yield. There is tremendous potential for increased profitability and farm efficiency by improving milk fat yield through improved understanding of how fatty acids are metabolized and partitioned to different tissues.


Being selected as the global winner of the Alltech Young Scientist program was the biggest achievement of my career, especially since I competed with other brilliant scientists with very solid research. It has certainly given me more confidence in presenting my research. However, this prize was not only a personal achievement, but also the achievement of several other collaborators and mentors that I have had throughout my career.


I will complete my Ph.D. by next year, and I would like to continue working with research and training people. My overall research interests and expertise cross several boundaries, which enables the integration of several disciplines and will result in many opportunities to collaborate with researchers and others within the industry.