Dr Edir Silva graduated as a veterinarian from the Federal University in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in his home town Belo Horizonte, in 1972. He spent most of his academic years in a research training programme for undergraduate students on microbiology and poultry diseases. Following graduation, he joined the College of Veterinary Medicine (FMVZ) of the State University of Sao Paulo (USP) working as a microbiologist on the diseases of poultry where he was involved in research, teaching and extension programmes for the poultry sector. The Poultry Diagnostic Laboratory at the FMVZ-USP was one the most active labs in a steadily growing period in Brazil's most important poultry producing state.
For 18 years (1973-1990) Dr Silva lectured on diseases of poultry to veterinarian students, and provided extension services for the poultry industry under FMVZ-USP supervision, before moving to another sister university (State University of Campinas - Unicamp). At Unicamp, he taught food hygiene and safety in poultry products until his retirement in 2007 as a full professor.
Over his entire career his research focus was primarily on salmonellosis as a poultry disease, and on the public health problems associated with it, looking for diagnosis methodologies and control measures. In this area and related fields he has supervised many undergraduate and graduate students (both MSc and PhD). His own MSc in 1976 and PhD in 1978 (both at USP) were both focused on his area of study; poultry microbiology and immunology.
Dr Silva's first contact with WPSA was when his adviser and sector's Chair at FMVZ-USP took the position as President of the Scientific Committee for the WPC1978 that was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dr Silva's group contributed 16 papers at the 1978 Congress that were presented orally or as posters. For some of them he was the senior author, and for others he was a co-author.
From 1979-80 he served as a visiting professor in the poultry research group at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, MA, working on the production of a vaccine for fowl typhoid.
In 1981, as a consultant, he was invited to chair the technical department of the newest formed Association of day-old chick producers (Apinco). Apinco is based in the city of Campinas, SP (100 km from the city of SP), where he organized, in the same year, the first Seminar on the 'Quality of Day-old Chicks'. Some simple rules were established such as, lectures on practical driving problems, keeping on time, no sponsors guiding the guest speakers and uniform format of presentation. The immediate success of the seminar ensured it become an annual event. Later, it became the most recognised Brazilian poultry conference under a Foundation umbrella named FACTA (www.facta.org.br) that represents the WPSA Brazilian Branch. Besides the Annual Conference, Facta organises many training courses, seminars and has published several technical teaching books - one of the latest (2009) is Diseases of Poultry with 1,104 pages and 78 authors, and Dr Silva is one of the five editors. The Brazilian Poultry Science Journal (ISSN1516-635X) has been published quarterly in English since 1999 under Facta's coordination. Since that time Dr Silva has also been serving on the Facta executive committee, having served as its President during the most recent term.
As an entrepreneur, in 1981 Dr Silva joined three other young and enthusiastic partners to establish a poultry vaccine company and was to serve as its director of R&D. This company later became one of the leading vaccine companies in Brazil. The company was sold in 1996 to a multinational enterprise, with a portfolio of 36 licensed products, including vaccines for pets and pigs. Dr Silva then stayed out of the vaccine business by signed agreement with the buyers for five years. During that period, he established and ran by himself a private poultry diagnostic laboratory. Following the five year period, he returned to the vaccine and probiotic market for poultry establishing two additional laboratories.
Due to his intense poultry interests and activities, he has attended poultry meetings all over the world, presenting papers and lectures as an invited guest at many of them. Serving as a researcher and consultant for the poultry industry worldwide, he has received many awards.
In 1998 he led a team to re-establish the Brazilian Branch of WPSA, and he became the Branch President. He provided leadership for the presentation of a bid at the WPC2000 in Canada to host the WPC 2008, but Australia received the most votes. Bidding again at WPC2004 in Turkey, the Brazilian branch got the position to host the WPC2012.
In his term as president of WPSA (2012-16) Dr Silva has proposed to use Brazil's recent development of the poultry industry as a model to help stimulate science and technology as a basis for poultry production in the southern and eastern African Countries through their WPSA Branches, as a continuation of the work initiated by the past president Dr Bob Pym. The Federal Brazilian Agricultural research institution (Embrapa) has already shown their willingness to be involved in this proposal. The inclusion of FAO would be a highly recommended approach. Also, cooperation with well known international poultry exhibition organizers and other poultry technical diffusion organizations around the world would be sought. The purpose is to organize satellite technical seminars and training courses under the WPSA umbrella and label, using all contacts and expertise on its home list.
Dr Silva is very excited about being able to work with the WPSA officers on the continued improvement of WPSAs presence and activities around the world.