“You Have to Have an Open Mind”: New PDPS Professor Prafulla Regmi

Prafulla Regmi portrait

The Prestage Department of Poultry Science is pleased to welcome Prafulla Regmi to the faculty starting June 1. We asked Regmi a few questions to introduce him as he settles in.

Regmi is no stranger to the South – he came to NC State from Athens, GA. As every member of the Wolfpack knows, though, Raleigh is special.

Regmi cites “the food here” as his favorite thing (so far) about the city. He enjoys the diverse food options in the Raleigh and Cary areas and looks forward to visiting even more new restaurants. Be sure to welcome him with suggestions!

“Scott Hall is quite surprising.”

When talking about NC State, Regmi admitted he hasn’t done a lot of exploring around campus yet, but he already appreciates the internal green spaces. He added that it was “quite nice” to have a campus home like Scott Hall that has facilities for live animals and non-animal research.

Still learning his way around Scott Hall, Regmi mentions the help he’s received as he learns his “way around the department.”

Regmi’s position focuses on applied animal welfare and behavior. His appointment is 55% research, 20 percent teaching and 25 percent Extension. Regmi called this mix “exciting as well as slightly challenging.”  He also said there’s “never a single cause” for any issue with poultry – understanding “every behavior” and welfare aspect is essential.

His previous work focused on laying hens, with some work with turkeys and ducks. At PDPS, he’ll address all poultry types and collaborate with Animal Science and the College of Veterinary Medicine to address what he calls “the biggest challenge we have”: “to convince [poultry] producers that these behaviors or welfare will help” improve the industry.

In addition to research and teaching, Regmi will focus on education about the realities of chicken behavior through his Extension activities.

Regmi is passionate about explaining the dimensions of animal welfare. He emphasizes that there’s more to welfare than behavior and insists that “as much as we can, we need to look [at chickens] objectively.”

He also says that “you have to have an open mind” when studying animal welfare, because there are assumptions that can get in your way otherwise.

He shared a powerful message about the goal of animal welfare:

“as long as they [chickens] are with us…they need to be comfortable.”

Understanding what ‘comfortable’ means to and for a chicken (and other poultry) is Regmi’s specialty.

Regmi completed his DVM in Nepal, where he was born and raised, before coming to the U.S.

He’s a “big Pink Floyd fan” and when he came to study at Michigan State he was eager to see Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd bassist, play a show in Detroit. The newly arrived Regmi discovered the challenges of traveling – without a car – as a new arrival through the US. He saw Waters and has a great story to tell about his early experiences in the US.

Regmi keeps a number of fish tanks and enjoys creating aquascapes. He has both fresh and salt water tanks and has savvy tips for keeping fish while beating pet store prices on supplies.

While Regmi enjoys reading, he understandably hasn’t had a lot of time for it in the last few years. Since moving to the US in 2012, he’s completed a Ph.D., held postdoc positions with the USDA and started a new position here at NC State.

Still, when he finds time, Regmi enjoys novels and short stories with a “nice narrative plot.” He especially enjoys the work of authors Gabriel García-Márquez and Anton Chekhov.