Hi I'm
Dr Maria Costa

  • Position: Lecturer in veterinary epidemiology
  • Location: Highlands and Islands
  • Expertise:
    • Livestock and Fishing
    • Policy

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I obtained my vet degree from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine - Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal (2015). While working on my master thesis, I developed an interest on pig welfare and epidemiology by focusing on the links between pig welfare on farm and meat sanitary inspection results. Before joining Teagasc (The Irish Food and Agriculture Development Authority) for my doctoral studies in 2015, I did a traineeship at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU, Sweden) on animal welfare and epidemiology, and I worked as veterinary meat inspector in pig slaughterhouses in Portugal. In 2018, I completed my PhD in Animal Production between the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB, Spain) and Teagasc (Ireland). My thesis focused on the main factors affecting pig production in Ireland, namely biosecurity, feeding practices, and respiratory disease. In Teagasc, I also worked as a post-Doctoral researcher working on the subjects of antibiotics’ usage and resistance in pig and poultry production.

In 2020, I joined SRUC where I work as a lecturer in veterinary epidemiology. I am based in Inverness at the Centre for Epidemiology and Planetary Health (CEPH). My main interests are pig health and welfare, with focus on its interconnections with veterinary public health. I combine data analysis and visualization with my veterinary expertise to generate and interpret useful information for farmers, stakeholders and national authorities. My current training as a resident of the European College of Porcine Health Management helps me to bridge the gap between pig research and the pig industry.

Areas of expertise and interests

  • Livestock and Fishing
  • Policy

I'm currently working on

I have key responsibility for engaging with the Scottish and UK pig industries, administering existing health schemes with the support of the industry, and developing and leading new initiatives for the benefit of the Scottish pig sector. I am also involved in the SRUC livestock disease surveillance intelligence centre and I participate in EPIC as a pig-species specialist as well as in other animal health- related research including that funded by Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS).

  • RESAS A2-2, 3 and 4 topics: Research into zoonoses and emerging diseases to protect public and animal health in Scotland Zoonoses and Emerging Diseases; A systems understanding of the flow of AMR from livestock production to the environment and humans: informing antimicrobial stewardship and optimal use; and Achieving improvements in the health of Scottish livestock through increased uptake of biosecurity practices: towards a farmer-centric approach based on a Socio-Epidemiological Model.
  • In EPIC IV, I work on the use of meat inspection results for disease surveillance and on providing evidence needed to design control strategies tailored to the Scottish and UK pig industries.
  • In the DECIDE project (, I am developing pig data dashboards for the Scottish pig industry.
  • AMR VMD (VM047) funded by DEFRA: integration of pig data from different sources and analyse the relationships between the use of antibiotics, health, welfare productivity and AMR data.
  • COST Actions:

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