Webinar – Chronobiology: How lighting and exercise cue equine health and performance by Dr Barbara Murphy – 05/10/22
NEW RESCHEDULED DATE!
Chronobiology: How lighting and exercise cue equine health and performance by Dr Barbara Murphy
Barbara will be discussing the horse’s body clock, known as the circadian system, which regulates almost all aspects of physiology and behaviour to a certain degree. A clock functions in every cell of the horse’s body such as time-of-day information, provided by light primarily, but also by exercise and feeding times, keeps the horse’s body synchronised to the environment. When we house, feed and exercise our horses differently from what they experienced in the wild it strongly impacts their body clock.
Understanding how light influences the myriad functions of the body allows us to improve the performance and welfare of our stabled horses. When we travel horses, we disrupt the body clock, which is known to result in jet lag symptoms in humans. Knowledge of optimum lighting and exercise to support the body clock can help mitigate jet lag effects in horses.
Dr Barbara Anne Murphy
Founder of Equilume Ltd, Dr. Barbara Anne Murphy is Head of Equine Science and Programme Director of the BAgrSc Animal Science-Equine degree at University College Dublin. Following a BSc in Equine Science from the University of Limerick, she spent a year working within the Thoroughbred industry before pursuing a PhD in Veterinary Science at the prestigious Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky.
Her widely read PhD Dissertation entitled “Investigations of circadian regulation and immune-circadian interaction in the horse” shone light for the first time on a new area of equine science research – chronobiology. Her current scientific research relates to studying how environmental cues, primarily photoperiod, regulate biological rhythms (i.e. the body clock) in animals. Specifically, her studies investigate how circadian and circannual rhythms are involved in important reproductive phenomena and how disruption of these rhythms impacts growth, health and performance in the equine and bovine species. An important output from her UCD research was the finding that low-intensity blue light could profoundly influence equine physiology when administered to a single eye. This led to the development of the Equilume Light Mask and its subsequent widespread assimilation into global breeding practices. The technology is now being adopted across the Sport Horse industry for the many benefits of blue light on health, behaviour and coat condition.
Barbara is CSO at Equilume, head-quartered in Co Kildare, Ireland and drives the research and development of innovative Agri-tech. A native of West Cork on the Wild Atlantic Way, her childhood around ponies and subsequent experience working for leading equine breeding operations in the US and Ireland, in addition to her extensive academic equine science background, helps fuel her role as both successful educator and entrepreneur.
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