Michelle Woo, ’22, Computer Science

I spent the summer studying the chicken trade network in and around Antananarivo, Madagascar. I worked with other PEI interns and Malagasy veterinary students to conduct surveys and collect samples from live chickens at various markets located near central Antananarivo. We found that chickens are brought in from surprisingly far away, especially considering the country’s poor infrastructure. We used the R programming language to statistically analyze how the ways in which chickens are traded and kept at market affected the spread of avian disease and to create a visual map depicting the trade network. Finally, we analyzed biological samples taken from market chickens using techniques such as DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction, which we hope will eventually be used to study the presence of antibacterial resistance in the chickens. It was an amazing experience to be immersed in a unique culture for a summer, and I appreciated being able to learn R in a highly application-based setting.

* This internship is connected to the PEI Urban Grand Challenges project, “Sustaining Diverse Income Streams in an Urban Setting.”