Durga Chapagain, MSc
Durga Chapagain gained her Bachelor's degree in Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry from the Institute of Agricultural and Animal Sciences, Tribhuvan University, Nepal (October 2008). After that she studied in the Master's program on Animal Science (major in Applied Ethology) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden (graduation in 2013). During her Master studies, she took several courses on animal behavior and was involved in various study projects focusing on assessing farm animal behavior and welfare. She was especially interested in topics related to animal cognition and learning. This interest led her to work in a project which involved animal conditioning and assessing emotions in lambs for her Master’s thesis. She assessed positive emotions in lambs by evaluating their behavioral and physiological response when provided with the play reward. After finishing her Master studies, she worked as a volunteer research assistant in a project investigating emotional states in dairy cows.
Since October 2013, she has been working at the Messerli Research Institute in the project “Cognitive development and ageing in pet dogs”, supervised by Dr. Friederike Range and Dr. Zsófia Virányi. This project aims at comparing pet dogs who are either successfully ageing or are cognitively declining according to their owner’s report by using Vienna Canine Cognitive Battery. It will be investigated whether a new diet fortified with essential nutrients for boosting cognitive abilities can slow down cognitive decline in domestic dogs.
Main fields of research
- Objective assessment of positive emotions through behavior, body language and ear postures
- Physiological assessment of positive welfare indicators in farm and companion animals
- Questionnaire survey, microbiological and nutritional studies
Current Research Project
"Cognitive development and ageing in pet dogs [Link 1]"
Influence of ageing on dog’s problem solving, reasoning, learning ability, memory and trainability, physical, cognitive and social cognition
Scholarships and awards
- University fellowship for the program "Bachelor of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry" (2003-2008)
- Reserach grant from the Community Livestock and Development Project (CLDP) for the Bachelor's thesis project (2008)
- Chapagain, D. and Lidfors, L. 2013. Investigating the reward cycle for play in lambs, Manuscript submitted to ‘Applied Animal Behaviour Science’ journal” (Under Review)
- Lidfors, L. and Chapagain, D. 2012. Investigating the reward cycle for play in lambs. Abstract published in the Proceedings of the Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology, Vienna, Austria, 57.