Leah Driscoll awarded the Herbert L. Forest Scholarship

Leah Driscoll

Leah Driscoll '23 has been awarded the Herbert L. Forest Scholarship in recognition of her work with the Arcaro lab.

The Herbert L. Forest Scholarship supports juniors and seniors majoring in Resource Economics, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Food Science, Plant & Soil Science, Horticulture, Sustainable Food & Farming, and Turf grass Management. Applicants should have a demonstrated career interest related to dairy marketing and must be in good academic standing.

The scholarship was established to honor the late Herbert L. Forest, a distinguished alumnus of the Department of Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Mr. Forest served as Director of the Dairy Division of the Agricultural Marketing Service of the United States Department of Agriculture for most of his career. He supervised the establishment and operation of Federal Milk Marketing Orders throughout the United States and was also involved in numerous international negotiations related to trade in dairy products. Mr. Forest died during 1993. Since his death, the Herbert L. Forest Scholarship fund has continued to benefit significantly from the contributions of his family, friends, and admirers.

Leah Driscoll '23 is a Pre-Veterinary Science major and plans to attend veterinary school in the future. Leah would like to practice veterinary medicine with livestock, horses, and exotics. She is especially interested in researching equine orthopedics and livestock nutrition while in veterinary school.

This semester Leah has had the opportunity to work with Dr. Kathleen Arcaro learning about subclinical mastitis, a non-symptomatic form of intramammary inflammation. This research has sparked Leah's interest in the dairy industry. The Arcaro laboratory plans to assess whether or not an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of lots of fruits and vegetables is associated with decreased Na:K ratios (increased Na:K ratios is a biomarker of subclinical mastitis) within human milk. Although this study involves working with human subjects, most of our knowledge involving subclinical mastitis and the risks associated have come from research within the dairy industry. Leah shares, "After reading multiple research papers involving subclinical mastitis, many of which utilize bovine subjects, I have learned that subclinical mastitis is associated with less milk production, poorer milk quality, and decreased milk uptake by infants and calves alike. The inflammation associated with subclinical mastitis increases the permeability of mammary epithelium, allowing sodium to rush into the alveoli, thus increasing Na:K ratios within the milk. However, anti-inflammatory components of fruits and vegetables could combat the development of subclinical mastitis. If our study finds that women who consume greater amounts of fruits and vegetables (a less inflammatory diet) are less likely to have increased Na:K levels, it would be interesting to see if a similar effect would be seen in dairy cattle. Considering the massive financial impact subclinical mastitis has on the dairy industry, I would love to continue looking at this condition in the context of dairy cattle by potentially looking at the effects of an anti-inflammatory ration versus a typical lactating dairy cow ration."