Dr. Eric England is combining his background in chemistry with his research in meat science to improve meat quality. He is focused on understanding how biochemical mechanisms control the transformation of muscle and the resulting changes in fresh and processed meat quality.
Dr. England is from West Union, Illinois. He first learned about agriculture on his grandfather’s farm, where he spent quite a bit of time. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Milligan College in Tennessee. While an undergraduate, he became interested in food science and decided to pursue graduate education in that area. “While visiting potential graduate programs, I met my future Ph.D. advisor, Dr. David Gerrard, who was a meat scientist. I was attracted to his research program because he studied the fundamental biochemical mechanisms controlling meat quality at the interface between animal and food,” said Dr. England. He would go on to earn his Ph.D. in Animal and Poultry Sciences from Virginia Tech.
Dr. England joined The Ohio State University in June 2015. According to Dr. England, “During my interview, I was impressed with the current faculty and felt my research interests would align well with their ongoing research projects.” He is currently working on a few ongoing projects. He and master’s degree student Michelle LeMaster are working on new enhancement strategies for the meat industry. A project involving naturally occurring genetic mutations and pork quality in Berkshire pigs is funded by a 2016 CFAES SEEDS grant. Dr. England is working with master’s degree student Jennifer Swonger and Ph.D. student Ji Wang on the Berkshire project. He and master’s student Morgan Foster are collaborating with Dr. Sulaiman Matarneh at Utah State University on research focusing on postmortem metabolism in bovine skeletal muscle. His final project is a collaboration with researchers from Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, The James. Dr. England is working with Drs. Steven Clinton and Colleen Spees on a project titled “Beef as a Component of a Healthy Dietary Pattern in Cancer Survivors.” The study is evaluating if the incorporation of beef into the diet can promote improvement in nutritional status and health outcomes for the participants.
Dr. England’s research has resulted in a number of conference presentations for he and his collaborators. He attended the Reciprocal Meats Conference on Texas A&M's campus in College Station, TX, where his former postdoc Dr. Surinder Chauhan presented a poster titled "Excess glycogen does not resolve high ultimate pH of beef, lamb, and chicken oxidative muscle." He also attended the International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) in Cork, Ireland. Two posters were presented there. The first was work from Dr. Chauhan titled "AMP is a more potent activator of phosphofructokinase-1 activity than fructose 2,6-bisphospate in porcine skeletal muscle under simulated postmortem conditions." The second was work from master’s student Michelle LeMaster titled "Potassium carbonate improves fresh pork quality." “For her work, Michelle was awarded the International Meat Secretariat (IMS) Prize. The IMS Prize is the top prize awarded every two years at ICoMST in recognition of scientific and technological excellence among those engaged in research into red meat. Michelle will be given the opportunity to present her work at the World Meat Congress in 2018,” said Dr. England.
When not conducting research, Dr. England teaches two courses in the Meat Science curriculum. He teaches MEATSCI 5510 (Advanced Meat Science) with Dr. Macdonald Wick and MEATSCI 2010 (BBQ Science) with Dr. Michael Cressman. Outside work, Dr. England enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife Katie (an Ohio State Nutrition Biochemist Research Associate in the Department of Human Sciences) have two daughters Isla, 3, and Lark, 1, who Dr. England calls “a blessing to us.” He also is co-captain on a competitive BBQ team, Big Daddy’s BBQ, with Dr. Cressman.