Continue to help us welcome Dr. Andrew Schiffmacher, Dr. Andrew Broadbent and Dr. J. Eduardo Rico
Over the past year, Animal and Avian Sciences has brought on three new faculty members, each with an impressive background and research specialties that expand and strengthen out department. Continue to help us welcome Dr. Andrew Schiffmacher, Dr. Andrew Broadbent and Dr. J. Eduardo Rico and get to know them a little more.
Dr. Andrew Schiffmacher joined the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences in August 2020, as an Assistant Professor, though he has previously been associated with ANSC, having earned his Ph.D. and conducted postdoctoral research here. Dr. Schiffmacher’s current research seeks to increase the fundamental understanding of mammary gland development and provide insight into improving animal and human health.
Dr. Schiffmacher grew up in Buffalo, NY and received his B.S. in Animal Science from Cornell University in 1998. He spent three years as a research assistant at the NIH National Primate Research Center in Portland, OR, where in 2001, he was a co-author on his first published article which described a study of how melanocortin receptors in the hypothalamus play a role in mediating food intake in nonhuman primates. It was published in the journal, Endocrinology. He then returned to Buffalo as part of a research team studying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
In 2010, he earned his Ph.D. in Dr. Keefer’s laboratory examining how transcription factors direct early bovine embryo cells to either contribute to embryo tissue or placental tissue. Then he went on to work with Dr. Taneyhill as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar until 2018, researching how the loss of cell adhesion through degradation of cadherin proteins influences neural crest cells.
Before his return to UMD, Dr. Schiffmacher was a staff scientist at the National Institutes of Health for two years. “My first year [back at UMD] has been a great experience despite the challenges and delays caused by the pandemic,” he said. “I am very enthusiastic to get my lab up-and-running and fully productive.” He added, “It has also been exciting to meet all of the new faculty and reestablish previous connections with faculty from my Ph.D. and postdoc days as well.”
Dr. Andrew Broadbent comes to the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences from The Pirbright Institute, near London, England. He arrived at Maryland in January as an Assistant Professor. His background includes molecular virology and veterinary medicine, and his research focuses on animal viruses, especially those of economic importance to the poultry industry. He is excited to get set up and started with projects in his lab, be part of the UMD community, and start teaching next year.
Dr. Broadbent grew up in the North of England and attended the University of Cambridge to obtain his DVM in 2005. He then earned his M.S. in 2006 from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Ph.D. in 2010 from Imperial College London, where he examined how viruses replicate and cause disease, and how to improve the design of vaccines.
Early in his career, from 2010 to 2014, Dr. Broadbent was a Postdoctoral Fellow working with emerging viral diseases in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He was at The Pirbright Institute from 2014-2020, first as a research fellow, then as the group leader of his own laboratory, researching avian viral diseases. During this time, he was also deployed to a diagnostic lab in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak in 2015, and more recently to a National Health Service laboratory in the United Kingdom, due to COVID-19.
Dr. J. Eduardo Rico joined the Animal and Avian Sciences Department as an Assistant Professor in January. His research focus is the influence of nutritional factors on metabolism, animal productivity, and welfare. Related to his core expertise, he is examining factors that maximize nutritional and health-promoting properties of bovine milk, particularly components in milk fat.
Dr. Rico described his first semester as a faculty member at UMD as “a semester of learning – beyond the limitations that COVID has put on everything, it has been an exciting process of adapting to professorial life and learning how to navigate the challenge of establishing a new laboratory. It has been lots of writing and planning.”
Before UMD, Dr. Rico spent 2017 to 2020 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Cornell University, examining metabolic disorders and prevention in cows, and dietary ways to maximize nutritional value of bovine milk for humans. Before Cornell, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at West Virginia University.
Dr. Rico grew up in Colombia, where he earned his B.S. in 2006 from the Department of Animal Production at National University of Colombia, in Bogota. He worked in the feed industry in Colombia for a few years before coming to the U.S. as a graduate student at Michigan State University. He received his M.S. in 2013 from MSU where his thesis looked at the impacts of feeding palmitic and stearic acids to lactating dairy cows.
Following his Master’s degree, Dr. Rico earned a Ph.D. at West Virginia University in 2016 where he examined the use of lipidomics to study metabolic disease within the field of dairy science, discovering that sphingolipid ceramide was a biomarker of insulin resistance in dairy cattle. He also taught biochemistry classes while at WVU.
Dr. Rico’s first published article was part of a project examining how the nutrition of grazing cows can influence milk quality for human consumption. “We looked at how different diet types are associated with the content of bioactive substances found in cow’s milk,” he said, adding “Looking back, I would say this work strongly influenced my interest in nutrition and scientific discovery.”