Graduate Program Directory

Graduate students work together with faculty and staff to conduct a broad spectrum of research, ranging from fundamental laboratory studies to farm-oriented applied projects. These are an important component of the interaction and collaboration among researchers within the Animal Sciences Graduate Program and with faculty and students of other programs.

Graduate students are also an integral part of the teaching and extension activities of the department. These activities are vital to the development of methods and programs that will continue to improve the productivity and efficiency of animal agriculture in the state, nation, and world.

Click on names below for the faculty home pages.


Dr. Yang Da
Research Interests: Quantitative and molecular genetics. Statistical genetics and genomics. Statistical analysis for mapping disease genes and quantitative trait loci. Statistical procedures to apply genetics markers to animal breeding and genetics. Genetic diversity in domestic animals.

Dr. Christopher Faulk
Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Nutrition and obesity; Lead Pb and epigenetics; Epigenetic drift and aging; Comparative genomics; Mobile DNA.

Dr. Les Hansen
Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Dairy Genetics
Research Interests: Dairy genetics. Monitoring of genetic relationships and inbreeding of Holsteins has been an on-going area of interest and research. Curator of a 1964 control line of Holstein cows at the University of Minnesota, which is currently housed at the research and outreach center at Morris, MN.

Dr. Abel Ponce de León
Professor Emeritus
Research Interests: Genomics. Bovine and avian genetics.

Dr. Tony Seykora
Research Interests: Dairy cattle genetics.

Growth Biology

Dr. William Dayton
Professor Emeritus
Research Interests: Muscle growth biology. Utilizing molecular biology and muscle cell culture methodologies to study the regulation of muscle growth during embryonic and postnatal growth of economically-important animals.

Dr. Douglas Foster
Professor Emeritus
Research Interests: Avian growth biology. Immortalization of avian cells for vaccine substrates, molecular mechanisms of cellular senescence and immortalization, regulation of cell cycle events, cloning of growth specific sequences, avian endocrinology, recombinant protein production.

Dr. Marcia Hathaway
Research Interests: Muscle growth biology. Effect of feed additives and beta adrenergic agonists on skeletal muscle growth. Role of satellite cells in muscle growth. Muscle tissue culture systems.

Dr. Michael White
Professor; CFANS Associate Dean for Academic Programs & Faculty Affairs
Research Interests: Muscle biology: Cellular and molecular regulation of muscle growth and development in meat-producing animals, with a specific focus on the role and mechanism of action of the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), their binding proteins (IGFBPs) and anabolic steroids in the regulation of muscle growth.


Dr. Grant Crawford
Director of Beef Technical Services, Form-A-Feed
Research Interests: Beef cattle nutrition.

Dr. Brian Crooker
Research Interests: Nutritional physiology-ruminants. Regulation of nutrient use by food producing animals with a focus on lactation. Studies are designed to determine physiological, metabolic, and genetic factors that regulate and affect performance and efficiency of lactation.

Dr. Alfredo DiCostanzo
Research Interests: Beef cattle nutrition and management. Nutrition and management factors affecting the biologic and economic efficiency of cow-calf and feedlot operations. Evaluation of alternative feeds and feeding and management strategies to improve economic efficiency.

Dr. Lee Johnston
Research Interests: Swine nutrition and management. Energy and protein nutrition of sows. Management of reproducing sows. Nutrition/environment interactions. Nutrition of the newly weaned pigs. Feedstuffs evaluation. Disposal of swine mortalities.

Dr. Jim Linn
Professor Emeritus
Research Interests: Dairy cattle nutrition, feeding management, and replacement heifer nutrition and management.

Dr. Sally Noll
Research Interests: Poultry science. Nutrition and feeding of market turkeys. Management, health and stress interactions in market turkeys. Improving poultry waste utilization production.

Dr. Jerry Shurson
Research Interests: Applied swine nutrition and management. Pork quality and safety. Manure management and odor reduction in swine facilities. Dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) in swine diets.

Dr. Marshall Stern
Research Interests: Ruminant nutrition. Protein nutrition of ruminants including methodology for measuring protein degradation and microbial protein synthesis in the rumen, and protein absorption from the small intestine. Also studying various factors that affect fermentation and microbial populations in the rumen.

Dr. Pedro Urriola
Research Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Swine nutrition and management. Sustainability of pork production. Improvement of nutritional utilization of alternative feed ingredients in diets for growing pigs. Nutritional evaluation of industrial co-products, especially with distillers dried grains with solubles. Management and control of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus transmission.


Dr. David Brown
Professor, Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences
Research Interests: Immunopharmacology, molecular pharmacology of neuropeptide action, and neural and hormonal regulation of epithelial ion transport.

Dr. Mohamed El Halawani
Professor Emeritus
Research Interests: Avian endocrinology. Reproductive problems in avian species. Interrelations between prolactin, gonadotropins, and ovarian function. Control and regulation of hormones by the brain. Neurochemical control of prolactin release.

Dr. Scott Fahrenkrug
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Recombinetics
Research Interests: Swine genetics. Functional genomics/molecular genetics. Functional characterization and manipulation of the pig genome.

Dr. Mathur Kannan
Professor, Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences
Research Interests: Regulation of intracellular calcium in smooth muscle cells and immune cells; Signal transduction mechanisms in the regulation of calcium, particularly the role of CD38-cyclic ADP-ribose.

Dr. Laura Mauro
Associate Professor
Research Interests: Cellular physiology. Importance of the tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) in cell proliferation and differentiation; exploring whether these molecules could serve as drug targets for skeletal disorders, such as osteoporosis, in animals and humans.

Dr. Scott O’Grady
Research Interests: Cellular physiology. Laboratory investigations have focused on understanding mechanisms and regulation of electrolyte transport across epithelial tissues, and regulation of eosinophil activation in patients with asthma.

Dr. Milena Saqui-Salces
Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Gut cellular physiology. Endocrine function of the gastrointestinal tract.

Dr. Srinand Sreevatsan
Professor, Veterinary Population Medicine
Research Interests: Molecular microbiology, epidemiology, and diagnostic medicine.

Production Systems

Dr. Samuel Baidoo
Associate Professor
Research Interests: Swine nutrition and management. Nutrition and management factors to enhance economic and environmentally sustainable swine production. Energy and amino acids nutrition of sows and impact on sow productivity and longevity. Evaluation of alternative feeds and feeding and management strategies to improve economic efficiency in swine production.

Dr. Hugh Chester-Jones

Research Interests: Dairy and beef production systems. Nutrition, health, and management of calves to be used for dairy heifer replacements or dairy-beef production. Nutrition, growth, development and economics of raising dairy heifers.

Dr. Ryan Cox
Associate Professor
Research Interests: Value-added animal product processing and safety (meat science).

Dr. John Deen
Professor, Veterinary Population Medicine
Research Interests: Swine health and welfare. Epidemiology of swine diseases. Risk factors of slow growth and mortality in growing pigs. Sow mortality. Measurement of pain.

Dr. Marcia Endres
Research Interests: Dairy science. Dairy cattle well-being, management and behavior.

Dr. Brad Heins
Associate Professor
Research Interests: Organic dairy production. Research interests include organic dairy production with emphasis on reduced-input, intensive grazing systems, and crossbreeding in dairy cattle.

Dr. Anup Kollanoor Johny
Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Poultry microbiological safety and quality. Environmentally-friendly and sustainable poultry production. Natural and/or organic approaches for improving performance and reducing/inactivating foodborne pathogens in poultry. Pre-and post-harvest food safety and quality. Antibiotic resistance mitigation in poultry. Genomics and transcriptomics to understand colonization and survival strategies in pathogens.

Dr. Yuzhi Li
Associate Professor
Research Interests: Swine behavior and production.

Dr. Krishona Martinson
Research Interests: Equine forage utilization and management. Forage related equine health issues. Poisonous plants and weed control. Equine industry impacts and trends.

Dr. Kota Minegishi
Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Dairy production; Production economics; Agricultural economics; Environmental economics.

Dr. Jeremy Schefers
Assistant Professor, Veterinary Population Medicine
Research Interests: Bovine pathology and diagnostic tests; Respiratory and enteric pathogens of ruminants.