Nutrition research is a major focus area for the department, with more than a dozen faculty leading research programs with dairy and beef cattle, chickens, turkeys, and swine. Approaches range from cutting edge molecular or basic research in laboratories using tissue or cell cultures or specific genetic lines of animal models to whole animal applied research on our research farms. Program areas include effects of nutrition on production efficiency and management, environmental impact of animal enterprises, gut microbiology, developmental biology, animal health, meat and milk quality, and food safety.
Steve Boyles, PhD, Beef, Columbus
Dr. Boyle’s research program emphasizes improved forage utilization through grazing strategies and hay storage systems
Maurice Eastridge, PhD, Dairy, Columbus
Dr. Eastridge’s research includes the effects of fiber on animal performance and milk composition, the production of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in milk, and the development of optimum use of feeding practices.
Jeffrey Firkins, PhD, Dairy, Columbus
Dr. Firkins’ research activities are mainly prioritized in three different areas: 1) improving the efficiency of microbial protein synthesis to enhance conversion of dietary protein into milk protein; 2) studying the interactions of physical, chemical, and microbiological processes related to fiber degradation and passage in the rumen to improve the efficiency of fiber and starch utilization in dairy cattle; and 3) improving the quantitative prediction of protein and carbohydrate digestion and metabolism in dairy cattle. He collaborates and leads research in other projects related to carbohydrate metabolism in human nutrition and the efficient use of protein, fat, and carbohydrate sources in ruminant nutrition.
Francis Fluharty, PhD, Beef, Wooster,
Dr. Fluharty’s primary research interests include determining effects of energy and protein intake on animal growth, nutritional factors affecting site of fat deposition and carcass composition, and nutritional requirements of stressed ruminants. Dr. Fluharty co-leads collaborative efforts to investigate the impact of grain versus forage-based diets in beef production systems on growth, carcass characteristics, fatty acid composition, and consumer desirability of meat products.
Dave Latshaw, PhD, Poultry, Columbus
Dr. Latshaw’s research interests include documenting all nutrient deficiencies and excesses in broiler chicks and examining energy metabolism in poultry as well as dietary calcium and skeletal integrity in poultry.
Kichoon Lee, PhD, Beef, Poultry, Swine, Columbus
Dr. Lee’s research interests include the discovery of genes or proteins that are involved in fat or muscle development using microarray and proteomics technology; functional genomics approaches to study the functions of genes using in vitro and in vivo systems, including cell cultures and transgenic or knockout mouse models; and identification of molecular mechanisms of food intake regulation in the brain.
Mike Lilburn, PhD, Poultry, Wooster
Dr. Lilburn’s research focuses on different aspects of avian nutrition and avian embryonic development.
Steve Loerch, PhD, Beef Cattle Nutrition, Wooster
Dr. Loerch’s research program is directed to discover nutrition and management strategies that have immediate impact on the efficiency and profitability of beef production and on the quality and nutritional characteristics of beef. His research is focused in three main areas: 1) nutrition and management strategies for newly weaned calves, 2) manipulation of intake to improve production efficiency and carcass characteristics, and 3) low-cost winter feeding programs for beef cows and sheep. Four new projects receiving USDA funding are focused on organic livestock production, water quality, grass-fed beef production, and reducing food borne pathogens in beef.
Donald Mahan, PhD, Swine, Columbus
Dr. Mahan’s research program evaluates the mineral and vitamin needs of pigs at all stages of production. He has directed much of his research efforts toward Se and vitamin E research, but more recently he has centered his research on the use of organic minerals.
Mark Morrison, PhD, Australia
Dr. Morrison studies bacterial physiology and metabolism with an emphasis on functional genomics of polysaccharide degradation and host-microbial interactions in GI tracts of animals and humans.
Pasha Peffer, PhD, Swine, Columbus
Dr. Peffer’s research focuses on lipid metabolism in the pre and postnatal piglet and is concerned with improving piglet survival and the use of the piglet model in defining nutritional management of humans.
Normand St-Pierre, PhD, Dairy, Columbus
Dr. St-Pierre’s ongoing research projects include: (1) quantitative methods for evaluating dynamic animal systems, (2) feed cost optimization, estimation of unit costs of nutrients and nutritional economics, (3) management and nutritional strategies to reduce nutrient excretion, and (4) forecasting methods for dairy risk management.
Bill Weiss, PhD, Dairy, Wooster,
Dr. Weiss’s major research interests include: 1) feed evaluation with emphasis on energy values, 2) factors affecting manure and nutrient excretion by dairy cows, 3) trace mineral and vitamin nutrition of dairy cows with emphasis on cow health, and 4) effect of variation in nutrient composition of diets on cow efficiency, productivity, and health.
Ramesh Selvaraj, PhD, Poultry, Wooster
Dr. Selvaraj is interested in the impact of poultry immune regulatory cells on immune responses in fighting infections or in suppressing excessive pro-inflammatory immune response in order to decrease mortality in chickens. His research program also focuses on nutrient interaction with or modification of nuclear hormone receptor signals.
Ruminant and non-ruminant nutrition laboratories are located on both the Columbus and Wooster campuses. These well-equipped laboratories currently support nutrition research programs of 14 faculty and their students. They include a comprehensive array of analytical capabilities. Nutrient digestion and metabolism research is conducted in specialized facilities at animal centers located on both campuses. Nutrition research is also conducted at two Dairy Centers (in Wooster and Columbus), two Poultry Centers (Wooster and Columbus), two Swine Centers (Columbus and S. Charleston), a beef feedlot (Wooster), and with four beef cow herds (Columbus and three Branch Research Stations).
ANIMSCI 5031 Ruminant Nutrition
ANIMSCI 5032 Non Ruminant Nutrition
ANIMSCI 5033 Feeding Management and Records Analysis for Dairy Cattle
ANIMSCI 5070 Nutritional Immunology in Animal Systems
ANIMSCI 5530 Comparative Animal Nutrient Metabolism
ANIMSCI 6090 Anaerobic Microbiology
ANIMSCI 7761 Macronutrient Metabolism
ANIMSCI 7762 Vitamin and Mineral Metabolism