Liveness Banda of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in Malawi is currently in Blacksburg for eight months as a Fulbright Scholar with the Department of Dairy Science conducting research that explores use of accelerometers and other smart technologies in the management of heat stress in dairy cattle.  

Banda’s B.Sc. (agriculture) and M.Sc., (animal science) are both from the University of Malawi. She earned a Ph.D. in animal genomics and disease resistance from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. She is an alumna of African Women in Agricultural Development (AWARD) and Borlaug Fellowships and a member of the Malawi AWARD (MwAWARD) Chapter.

At LUANAR, she is involved in teaching, research, outreach and consultancy in animal science and related rural development programs. She teaches various courses related to animal physiology, production systems and general livestock production. Her research interests include livestock physiology, production and farming systems for efficient and sustainable production systems, and socio-economic development in the context of climate change.

Banda is here with her son and daughter, who both attend Blacksburg Middle School. Their favorite things are eating out and travelling around Blacksburg and Christiansburg, familiarizing themselves with their new environment. Though she does miss her husband and friends back home, Banda likes the warmth of the people here, the easily accessible public transport and the quiet, peaceful environment — and they are all adjusting to the cold weather we’ve been having, not something found in sub-tropical Malawi.

She is excited to be here with access to facilities and skills that will help her gain a more in-depth understanding of the research, while generating solutions to some of the challenges of dairy cattle production. She praised her host and laboratory team, “I have great support from my host Dr Kristy Daniels, who has greatly helped me settle in Blacksburg. The team in her lab is very friendly, greatly supportive and always available to help me. I am so thankful”!  She looks forward to all the practical work and research that comes after completion of the necessary preliminary training.

Banda hopes to better understand how to use smart technologies in southeast Africa, where models predict increases in ‘Severe/Danger’ heat events for livestock in the area. Incorporating smart technology programs can help keep livestock safer, increase efficiency, sustainability, and maintain food security in a changing world.

Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Liveness Banda, in a dairy barn with holstein cows.
Scotland, 2019. Dr. Banda visits a dairy cattle farm during a joint project with the University of Glasgow to learn how dairy farmers in Malawi and Scotland develop resilience towards climate change challenges.
Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Liveness Banda, with a holstein dairy cow. Thatched structure in the background. Malawi.
Dr. Banda at a smallholder dairy cattle farm participating in a project on improving feeding practices for dairy cattle to improve productivity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Malawi.