Dublin’s Jennifer Doyle is not your average woman in agriculture, although she is making significant waves in the sector.
The 27-year-old does not carry an ounce of farming blood, as the roots of at least six generations of her paternal ancestors can be traced back to the Capital.
Despite the 27-year-old’s strong urban background Jennifer’s striking passion for animals was sparked and blossomed throughout her early childhood years.
“I loved visiting Newbridge farm in Donabate quite regularly. That was as close to agriculture as I ever really got but it definitely sparked my interest as a young child!” Jennifer Doyle told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
“I always wanted to work with animals or do something related to animals.” She added.
The Swords native pursued her long-long desire and began carving out a progressive career path; she ventured to Trinity College Dublin to undertake a degree in Natural Sciences.
Jennifer withdrew from the course in second-year and moved to University College Dublin (UCD) to enrol in the college’s Animal Science - Equine degree programme the following year.
“I decided I wanted to do this programme as it focused on my main love – horses but also allowed me to learn about agriculture and other livestock species.” Jennifer Doyle told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
“The Equine part of Animal Science - Equine only really kicks in in third-year so until then, and even for some modules in third and fourth-year, you are in with the general animal science class.”
A data analyst
Jennifer graduated from the world-renowned institution in 2015 but opted to attend Griffith College Dublin for a year after graduation, where she completed a Special Purpose Award in Pharmaceutical Data Analysis.
The Swords native progressed to secure a position as a data analyst at International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) before she decided to further her studies by commencing a PhD in Statistical Genomics in January-2017.
PhD in Statistical Genomics
Jennifer works on a project called Precision Breeding and is currently researching multi-breed genetic and genomic evaluations in beef cattle, with a view to concluding this research in 2021.
As part of her studies, she floats between Teagasc Moorepark and Waterford I.T. under the joint supervision of Prof. Donagh Berry and Dr. Siobhán Walsh.
The main objective of her PhD is to evaluate how multi-breed genetic and genomic evaluations work in beef cattle.
She is currently analysing the differences and similarities between five breeds of cattle including Angus; Charolais; Hereford; Limousin; and Simmental for linear type traits.
“I am trying to find out if these traits the same in all 5 breeds. I am also questioning if the heritability estimates and genetic correlations among these traits are the same in all breeds?”
“I want to find out if the genes controlling these traits are the same? And if not, why not?” Jennifer explained.
“Knowledge of these similarities or differences among breeds is important for improving the accuracy of multi-breed evaluations.”
With numerous achievements under her belt, Jennifer’s first scientific paper was published in Journal of Animal Science in May this year - she regards this as her biggest milestone memory to date. This paper was entitled “Genetic covariance components within and among linear type traits differ among contrasting beef cattle breeds”.
To de-stress from her academic studies, Jennifer enjoys all aspects of the equestrian world and attends an array of events.
“I enjoy anything from showjumping to racing. I don’t really ride regularly anymore but I still love going to events. Also, love going swimming in the evenings. It’s a great way to relax after a busy PhD day.”
Looking forward to the future, Jennifer has a desire to stay within research in genetics/genomics in Agriculture, although no plans are set in stone as of yet. She relishes the idea of an opportunity arising that would allow her to work abroad possibly in New Zealand.
“I attended a conference “World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production” in Auckland earlier this year and took a few weeks to go travelling and absolutely fell in love with the country!” Jennifer concluded.
“Go for it and you won’t be disappointed. Agricultural is a dynamic sector that’s full of opportunity!”
“Don’t let your background dictate your future! If it’s where you think your interest lies just do it and you won’t regret it!”
If you are studying any discipline of Agriculture or Veterinary and you want to share your story, get in touch - email email@example.com - and you may be featured on That’s Farming next week!