AnSci Connection - May 2017

Notes from the Department Head

Spring Semester classes ended and graduating seniors attended commencement and are looking forward to starting jobs or continuing their education beyond their BS degree. Additionally, a number of students are preparing for summer internships or May Term classes.

We continue to encourage development of study abroad courses that provide an international perspective to our students. Currently we offer two study abroad courses during May Term that have been very well received by students.  Dr. Mike White is again offering his course entitled “Sustainable Food Systems of Italy” (Sicily and Rome).  The main objective of this course is to examine sustainable food systems in Italy to better understand the ethical considerations of food production and consumption, the environmental impacts of food production and the socioeconomic supports necessary for such systems to develop and survive.  Additionally, Dr. Melissa Palmer is offering a wildlife medicine and conservation course in Belize. This course is an intensive introduction to key topics in wildlife medicine. Students will learn medical issues and approaches, the role of the veterinarian in wildlife conservation, zoo medicine, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Drs. Krishona Martinson and Marcia Hathaway are developing a third course “Shires, Shorthorns and Sheep: Exploring Livestock Systems in England” which will be offered for the first time in 2018.


We are currently accepting applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist who will conduct Extension and research in one or more areas of beef production systems. Examples of possible focus areas include impacts of genetic selection, reproductive management, cow nutrition and production efficiency, pre-weaning or pre-finishing nutrition and health on carcass yield and beef quality and sensory traits. We are excited about the addition of this new faculty member who will significantly increase our research and extension capabilities in the beef area.


The newsletter will take a summer break, but you can keep posted on happenings in the department by checking our departmental Facebook page. We thank you for your interest and support and we hope you have a great summer.

Best Wishes,

Bill Dayton

Teaching, Research, and Extension Highlights

Representatives from the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) office in Southeast Asia participated in two regional conferences in April to provide context, industry insights and actionable market intelligence to customers of U.S. agricultural commodities. Among those representatives was Dr. Jerry Shurson professor in the Department of Animal Science. 

At the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center Dr. Brad Heins has been evaluating a unique method for controlling pasture flies without the use of chemicals. He was recently published in Progressive Dairyman – Canada to share this research and the importance it has on dairy cattle welfare.

Go here to read the article and learn more about Dr. Hein’s research.

The Department of Animal Science is hiring an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist. This is a tenure-track (9-month) position with Extension (60%) and Research (40%) responsibilities involving beef production systems. To learn more, please visit our position description here:

Dr. Shurson’s research is looking at the environmental impacts that a DDGS diet can make in swine production. Read more about it in the May Issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine to learn about Dr. Shurson’s research with Drs. Pedro Urriola and Jennifer Schmitt. Read the article to learn more. 

News and Announcements

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Earlier this month the department celebrated the end of the school year with a global themed potluck and departmental awards. Take a look at some snapshots from the event. 


Department of Animal Science faculty member Dr. Melissa Palmer was named as the Director of the Marine Biology minor. Dr. Palmer will remain a faculty member in the Department of Animal Science and will become an affiliate of the Biology Teaching and Learning department which made the appointment possible. Congratulations Dr. Palmer!

News and updates from the lab of Dr. Anup Kollanoor Johny. 

The Minnesota Nutrition Conference Planning Committee is pleased to announce the agenda for the 78th Minnesota Nutrition Conference. The conference committee, comprised of nationally recognized industry professionals and academics, has put together a full agenda with topics of interest to nutrition professionals, nutrition company management personnel and academics. 

The Integrated Animal Systems Biology Team is a group comprised of Drs. Jerry Shurson, Chi Chen, Chris Faulk, Milena Saqui-Salces, and Pedro Urriola. The team takes a multi-faceted approach to develop solutions in animal production using metabolomics, transcriptomics, molecular genetics, metagenomics, bioinformatics, intestinal sensing, signaling, and cell differentiation. Learn more about the team and the work that they do by reading their newest brochure. 

Graduate Student Spotlights


Dallas and Sarah Dornink welcomed their first child into the world, Evelyn Arlene Dornink, on April 22 at 12:39 pm.  Evelyn was 7 lbs., 13 oz. and 20.5 in.  Dallas serves as the Lead Processing Technician in the Meat Laboratory and as Laboratory Safety Officer for the Department of Animal Science.  Sarah serves as the Executive Director for the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC).  Congratulations Dallas and Sarah!

Calendar of Events

June 13-14, 2017 – WCROC 2017 Midwest Farm Energy Conference, Morris, MN

Pre-register here:

June 14, 2017 – UMN Swine Extension- Pork Quality Assurance Plus training & Transport Quality Assistance training, Mankato, MN

More information here.

June 28, 2017 – UMN Swine Extension- Pork Quality Assurance Plus training, Mankato, MN

More information here.

June 25-28, 2017 - ADSA Annual Meeting, Pittsburg, PA

See full calendar here.