Leading innovation for real-world problems

Cutting-Edge Research

There’s a reason top funding agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation pour millions of research dollars into our department each year. It’s because “Think and Do” is more than a tagline: it shapes how we look at everything. Our faculty and students see the problems facing the animal science industry and pioneer solutions.

Our research areas cover everything from genetics and genomics to reproductive physiology. And students are given opportunities to walk alongside seasoned faculty and apply what they are learning in the classroom to real-world issues.

Animal Well-Being

Research in the area of animal well-being is typically incorporated within other focus areas such as genetics or physiology.

Students pursuing research projects emphasizing animal well-being have investigated the genetic basis of behavior, the effect of breeding behavior on the reproductive efficiency of swine and the effect of housing conditions on stress-related hormones in captive primates.

Animal Well-being

Caring for Animals

Animal Science students have investigated everything from the effect of breeding behavior on the reproductive efficiency of swine to the impact of housing conditions on stress-related hormones in captive primates.


Biotechnology is considered a support discipline and can be included in graduate programs in a variety of areas including physiology, nutrition, genetics/genomics and production management.


Making Swine Births Safer

Animal Science’s own William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Billy Flowers is a reproductive physiologist who pioneered the use of human ultrasound machines to make swine births safe, now a common practice on hog farms.

A CALS legend on campus and on the farm

Genetics and Genomics

In Animal Science, we focus on two major areas of activities: quantitative genetics and functional genomics.

Students can choose to major in Animal Science with a co-major in Genetics or Functional Genomics. Students pursuing research in genetics and genomics use a variety of animal models including beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine and mice in their thesis projects.

Genetics and Genomics

Genetic Evaluation Programs

Whether your interest in genetics is quantitative or functional, opportunities for focused coursework and research projects abound. Just ask the department head himself — Todd See’s research includes evaluation of heterogenous variance amongst swine herds in genetic evaluation programs.


Our nutrition program focuses on a range of topics, from basic molecular nutrition approaches to studies with direct practical applications in the target species. Students can work with a variety of animal species, including cattle, swine, horses, sheep, goats, mice, companion animals and exotic animals.


Quantifying Nutrient Intake

Dr. Paul Sicilano's research is actively pursuing how to quantify nutrient intake of animals. He and his graduate student are also working on grazing methods that prevent horses with low requirements from eating more than they need, which can lead to a variety of negative health consequences and inefficient production.

Investigating how restricted grazing impacts the microbiome and gut health


The physiology group conducts activities in two major areas: reproductive physiology and lactational physiology. Student research projects range from basic molecular studies to applied research projects in a variety of animal systems. Students use a variety of animal models including cattle, swine, mice, goats, horses, domestic cats and exotic cats in their research.


Dr. Daniel Poole

Understanding Physiological Changes in Cattle

Assistant professor Daniel Poole’s research program has addressed questions from the effects of ergot alkaloids and heat stress on ovarian and uterine blood flow to early embryo development.

Investigating potential mechanisms of genetic resistance or tolerance

Production Management

Students in production management investigate problems that involve applied research within their particular discipline (genetics, nutrition, physiology). Research can include ssessment of the usefulness of early pregnancy detection by real-time ultrasonograhpy in swine, the effectiveness specific feed additives on growth and nutrient utilization of beef steers or the effect of grazing-based dairy cattle management on the onset of puberty in heifers.

Production Management

Piglets in the swine reasearch unit. PHOTO BY ROGER WINSTEAD

People, Pigs and Infant Formula

William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry Jack Odle’s laboratory examines developmental nutrition as an avenue to great impact, such as his work improving the immune health of newborn piglets.

Visit Dr. Odle's laboratory of developmental nutrition