AMES, Iowa -- With five new graduate students and a lab manager, Iowa State University’s (ISU) applied swine nutrition program is focused squarely on the future. The program, under the leadership of animal science associate professor John Patience, has three research themes: energy, ingredient evaluation, and feeding management. There also are collaborative efforts with additional animal science faculty members in other areas.
As lab manager, Amanda Chipman’s responsibilities include working with people, paperwork and animals. “I train students in the lab and on the farm, order supplies and keep track of the budgets for each project,” she said. “I write protocols, standard operating procedures, and animal care and use forms; and coordinate schedules among the farm managers, lab technician, and the graduate students.” Chipman is from southwest Iowa and earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from ISU.
Cassie Jones is interested in “fall-back” pigs, a classification that includes intrauterine growth-retarded pigs (weighing less than 1 kg at birth) and those born at normal body weights but (for a variety of reasons) fall behind their respective contemporary groups. Her Ph.D. research project is focused on identifying how these pigs differ biologically and physiologically from their larger littermates, and how to best manage them to maximize their contribution to the financial success of the pig farm in a welfare-friendly manner. “We know our product is wholesome, consistent, and nutritious, and it’s produced with integrity and animal welfare in mind,” she said. “Our customers need to know that we work hard to produce a good product, and we strive to bring it to them safely.” Jones is originally from Beulah, N.D. and received both her bachelor’s degree in animal science and master’s degree in swine nutrition from Kansas State University.
Venkatesh Mani is a toxicology student working in swine nutrition under animal science assistant professor Nick Gabler. Mani has three primary interests in his Ph.D. research program: understanding the mechanisms of endotoxin and pathogen transport from the intestine, using nutrition to reduce endotoxin and pathogen transport, and studying the impact of endotoxin and pathogenic E. coli on the whole animal metabolism. “I hope my research helps improve metabolic efficiencies while reducing pork production costs associated with bacterial pathogens,” he said. Mani received a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree at Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and a Master of Science degree in genomics from Madurai Kamaraj University, India.
Illinois native Chad Pilcher hopes his Ph.D. research on nutrient availability and nutritional efficiency will help pork producers become more profitable. “Feed efficiency and growth performance are important drivers of productivity and profitability in swine production systems,” he said. “With profit margins under pressure, it is increasingly important for us to understand the biological basis for growth enhancement and improved efficiency.” Pilcher received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal sciences from the University of Illinois.
Nestor Gutierrez’s primary research interest is dietary fiber and said his Ph.D. research has three components. “My research project will focus on the determination of the best chemical assays to characterize fiber, the site of digestion of dietary fiber, and the impact of dietary fiber on the utilization of energy, nitrogen and phosphorus in swine diets,” he said. Gutierrez received his Bachelor of Science degree in animal sciences from the National University of Columbia, Bogota, and his Master of Science degree in animal sciences from the University of Illinois. He also was a visiting scholar at Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry, Brno – Czech Republic.
Brandy Jacobs is interested in nutrient digestibility, more specifically the drying methods used in preparing fecal and urine samples for testing nutrient composition. As part of her work toward a Master of Science degree, she will compare different drying methods on dietary energy and nutrient composition. “No data have evaluated the impact of initial digestibility values on final, post-treatment digestibility values,” she said. “In the second part of my thesis project I’ll compare the impact of initial nutrient digestibility on final, post-treatment nutrient digestibility.” Jacobs received her bachelor’s degree in animal science from ISU.
For more information on ISU’s applied swine nutrition program, including its mission, objectives, publications and people, see the Web site at http://www.ans.iastate.edu/faculty/jfp/acc/ .