Wild deer and protecting livestock from disease

Jacqui Panozzo
School of Applied and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology

Jacqui is investigating the biosecurity risk that wild deer pose to livestock in Gippsland, Victoria – in particular she is investigating if deer can carry parasitic diseases that they could be transmitted to cattle and sheep. “If my research shows that deer are acting as reservoirs for disease affecting domestic livestock, it will help farmers and land management agencies make more informed decisions about controlling wild deer populations close to farmland.

Jacqui is collecting faecal samples from wild deer from around Gippsland. "Using microscopy and techniques based on DNA analysis, I am identifying what species of parasites are present in the wild deer to determine if they are carrying any parasites that could cause disease in livestock.”

Jacqui undertook her undergraduate degree at the Gippsland Campus as it was the closest university to her home. “I loved it here so much that I haven’t left yet! The working environment here is wonderful, with everyone supporting each other and knowing each other, unlike in larger universities, plus it is close to home so there is no commute into the city.

For Jacqui, it was not a matter of choosing a career in science – it chose her! “I didn’t decide, rather, it sort of just happened. Biology was my favourite subject at high school, which I carried on into University – and I love it so much that I haven’t made the decision to stop learning about it yet. The best thing about a career in science and research is that you never stop learning about what you’re passionate about – in fact, you’re paid to do it. The call for women working in the STEMM areas has never been greater than right now – so if you love science, go for it.”