Post-doctoral Research Associate Joins Iowa Beef Center

MEgan Van EmonAMES, Iowa -- Post-doctoral research associate Megan Van Emon came to Iowa State University for the opportunity to work with beef-related research and with extension faculty and staff. After several months, she couldn’t imagine herself being anywhere else.

"I’d been working on my Ph.D. program at North Dakota State University when I heard about this position at Iowa State,” Van Emon said. “I was excited about the possibility of working with Stephanie Hansen in her research on trace minerals in feedlot cattle and with ethanol co-products. Meeting with her and Dan Loy at the American Society of Animal Science national meeting in 2012 reinforced my desire to be part of that, and I’ve been here at Iowa State since January of this year.”

Van Emon’s interest in ruminant nutrition began with showing beef cattle as a 4-H’er, continued through her college career and now plays a primary role in her Iowa State position.

“As a graduate student, I worked on supplementing metabolizable protein to ewes during late gestation, and then evaluated the effects on offspring growth performance and reproductive efficiency,” she said. “During my graduate degree programs, I conducted beef cattle research as well.”

As a post-doctoral research associate, Van Emon said she’s really hitting her stride with research and extension opportunities, including mineral nutrition research in feedlot cattle and a national feed efficiency grant project.

“I’m working with Drs. Hansen and Loy on the multi-year USDA-funded project ‘National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle,’” she said. “We’re working with 10 other institutions to develop genetic selection tools in eight different beef breeds to improve feed efficiency.”

That project is now in its third year, and Van Emon said researchers hope to discover similar genetic markers across breeds that improve feed efficiency. That discovery could help reduce feed costs and improve beef cattle production.

In addition to her involvement with various research topics and projects, Van Emon is working with Loy and others on learning to plan, develop and maintain a successful extension program.


Additional Contact
Nicole Patterson, 515-294-4496,

[PHOTO] Megan Van Emon