Author Spotlight: Hinayah Rojas de Oliveira on Streamlining Your Article Writing, Tackling Sustainability and Production Efficiency via Dairy Genetics, and Maintaining a Work-Life Balance

Today’s trailblazing dairy science innovations are built on the incredible work being done by a diverse, interconnected, global scientific community. Get to know a fellow community member in our ongoing Author Spotlight series.

Caption: Hinayah Rojas de Oliveira, PhD
(Credit: Hinayah Rojas de Oliveira)

Hinayah Rojas de Oliveira, PhD, is an assistant professor of genomics and animal breeding at Purdue University and a regular contributor to JDS Communications. After finishing her PhD and two partially concomitant postdoctoral positions at Purdue University and the University of Guelph, she spent time as a geneticist at Lactanet Canada before starting at Purdue.

We caught up with Hinayah to learn more about her passion for research and teaching.

Connect with Hinayah on LinkedIn and ResearchGate.

What specific questions or challenges within the field of dairy science are you currently working on?

I am passionate about complex problems, and the idea that genes might not be controlling the phenotypic expression of traits constantly over time and space truly intrigues me. In this regard, one of the main focuses of my research group at Purdue is the genetic and genomic analyses of longitudinal traits (i.e., the study of traits measured repeatedly over an individual’s lifespan or physiological cycle).

Accounting for temporal variation in longitudinal traits can help us to better understand and monitor resilience, production, and development more efficiently, especially in terms of the biological processes and their physiological implications underlying the longitudinal traits.

Additionally, my research group also investigates novel sustainability and efficiency traits and their genetic relationships with production and reproduction traits to help maximize genetic progress and mitigate environmental impact through well-informed breeding programs.

Do you have any advice for navigating the world of scientific publishing?

For students just embarking on their scientific journey, I’d advise against delaying manuscript writing. Waiting until experiments are completed or analyses are finished is a common misstep. You’ll find yourself far more productive and streamlined if you document your progress as you go along.

Starting a new project? Study the literature and identify the key questions you aim to address. Condense everything into a succinct introduction, typically one or two pages in length. Meanwhile, as you perform your analyses, meticulously record your materials and methods. You’ll be surprised how many errors you can catch simply by maintaining thorough documentation!

By the time you’ve outlined your materials and methods, your analyses will likely be reaching completion. From there, it’s a matter of organizing your results in the manuscript draft.

Once that’s accomplished, drafting your discussion and conclusions will bring your manuscript closer to completion. This method has saved me considerable time—I’ve used it for over 20 peer-reviewed papers as the lead author, including 10 that I wrote during my PhD program.

Lastly, don’t be discouraged by reviewers’ comments and suggestions! Their aim is to ensure your manuscript is clear and accurate for publication. Keep this in mind, and you’ll navigate the publishing process with confidence.

Caption: Hinayah’s team at Purdue
University (from left to right):
Gabriel Campos, Adebisi Ogunbawo,
Ayooluwa Ojo, Hinayah Rojas de Oliveira,
Marcos Reyes, Sinyu Hou, Alejandro Gallo,
and Henrique Mulim.
(Credit: Hinayah Rojas de Oliveira)

Collaboration and mentorship often shape a scientist’s journey in the profession. Do you have mentors or colleagues who have positively impacted your career?

I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my scientific journey to be surrounded by exceptional individuals who not only taught me about the dairy industry, genetics, genomics, and statistics but also helped me develop as a person and pursue my goals. 

Among them, I must highlight my mentors and colleagues: Fabyano Fonseca e Silva, Flavio Schenkel, PhD, Daniela Lourenco, PhD, Marcos Vinicius Gualberto Barbosa da Silva, PhD, Luiz Brito, PhD, Steve Miller, PhD, Christine Baes, PhD, and the entire geneticist team at Lactanet Canada, especially Brian Van Doormaal, Gerrit Kistemaker, Janusz Jamrozik, PhD, and Filippo Miglior, PhD.

I’ve gained invaluable insights from each of them, and I’m immensely grateful for the knowledge and guidance they’ve shared with me through different times in my life.

In your experience, what specific challenges within the field do you hope to see better solutions for?

It truly fascinates me how passionate dairy producers are about their animals. I find it enjoyable to witness their eagerness to learn and adapt, particularly in embracing new tools such as genomic information. This openness to innovation contributes significantly to the industry’s progress.

However, despite the positive aspects of the dairy industry, we still face several challenges.

The ongoing environmental changes pose significant challenges, compelling us to find ways to select for more resilient animals while reducing environmental footprints and maintaining productivity. Maintaining genetic diversity should also be considered a top priority.

Strengthening our shared dairy science community means celebrating more than just our professional selves. Outside of work, what activities or hobbies bring you joy?

I believe in a healthy work-life balance, and nothing brings me more joy than spending quality time with my four-year-old son. Whether we’re building Lego structures, playing with racecars, exploring nature’s playground, or simply sharing belly laughs over his favorite storybooks, these moments are the sweetest reminders of how quickly life flies by.

Everyone’s life is more than just work, and spending moments with special people should always be a top priority.

We know authors have many options for which journals they submit to. What benefits do you see to publishing in a society journal, such as JDS Communications?

As researchers, one of our main goals is to disseminate our findings effectively within the scientific community. Choosing to publish in a society journal like JDS Communications offers several benefits.

JDS Communications is an open-access and peer-reviewed journal, ensuring that research is easily accessible and rigorously validated by experts in the field.

Moreover, JDS Communications prioritizes short-length manuscripts, ensuring that research is presented concisely and understandably. This combination of accessibility, credibility, and readability enhances the reach and impact of any scientific work, fostering collaboration and advancement within the field.

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