University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
Faculty & Staff Resources {Link}
Prospective Graduate Students {Link}
Current Graduate Students {Link}
Beef Cattle Research & Education {Link}
Dairy Cattle Research & Education {Link}
Equine Research & Education {Link}
Food Science Research & Education {Link}
Goat Research & Education
Microbiology Research & Education
Poultry Research & Education {Link}
Sheep Research & Education
Swine Research & Education
4-H & Youth

Faculty Research Publications  


Ruminant Nutrition

Ruminant animals have always had a unique place in animal agriculture because of their ability to efficiently digest fibrous plant materials. Studies in ruminant nutrition range from cellular limitations in nutrient assimilation to forage use by grazing animals, namely cattle and sheep.  Specific areas of research include:

  • regulation and limitations of nutrient absorption and digestion.
  • optimizing forage availability and utilization, particularly fescue.
  • evaluation of nutrient requirements and management of the dairy cow.
  • study of protein, vitamin, and mineral nutrition.
  • incorporation of alternative feeds into ruminant diets.

Specialties within Ruminant Nutrition

Equine Nutrition

Horses are an important part of the agricultural economy in Kentucky as well as the rest of the nation, and the University of Kentucky has long been a premier institution for equine research.  Outstanding research facilities include a large horse herd, ample individual housing, analytical laboratory, round pen and treadmill.  Research with the horse focuses on nutrition with projects including:

  • hormonal and metabolic responses to different types of exercise.

  • nutrient requirements during growth, reproduction, and exercise.

  • dietary management procedures that improve digestion, growth and performance.

Specialties within Equine Nutrition

Non-Ruminant Nutrition

Research in non-ruminant nutrition involves studies with swine and poultry.  Discoveries from both basic and applied research are integrated into feeding programs to maximize the rate and efficiency of meat and egg production and to optimize reproductive performance.  Research projects currently include:

  • evaluation of nutrient requirements.
  • bioavailablity of nutrients.
  • interrelations of nutrients with genetics and environmental factors.
  • efficacy of growth and carcass modifiers.
  • nutritional properties of feed ingredients.

Specialties within Non-ruminant Nutrition


Physiology research includes both the fields of reproductive and lactational physiology.  The reproductive physiology group includes research and extension faculty who conduct both basic and applied research with beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine and sheep.  Research ranges from field trials with cooperating commercial herds to in vitro studies at the cellular and molecular levels.  The focus of the lactational physiology program is on prevention and control of mastitis and on bovine immunity.  Primary areas of research interest include:

  • regulation of puberty onset.
  • endocrine control of uterine function.
  • enhancement of sperm fertility.
  • nutritional and environmental factors influencing disease resistance in cattle.
  • applied studies on mastitis prevention and control.

Specialties within Physiology


Research is oriented primarily towards evaluation of various beef cattle genetic types when managed on endophytic‑tall fescue.

Specialties within Genetics and Animal Breeding

  • Quantitative beef cattle genetics


The Food Science program integrates a strong basic research program with applied research in areas related to foods derived from animals and other important agricultural products. Food Science research is essential to the efficient utilization of valuable agricultural products and adding value to low‑quality raw materials.   The number of jobs in the field of food science has historically exceeded the number of Food Science graduates.

Specialties within Food Science

  • dairy technology - cheese yield and medium development; prevention of culture agglutination and inhibition of virus proliferation.
  • food chemistry - identification and control of lipid‑derived flavor compounds; lipid‑protein interactions.
  • food microbiology - identification of methods for extending the shelf‑life of foods.
  • food safety - identification of methods for preventing food borne illness.
  • meat biochemistry - postmortem protein changes and meat tenderness; functional performance of oxidized proteins.
  • meat processing - identification of methods to improve the value of low‑quality raw materials; development of low‑fat meats.


Microorganisms play key roles in many agricultural and animal production systems.  An understanding of microbial physiology and of the symbiotic relationships between microorganisms and domestic animals is critical to developing efficient management practices.  The microbiology program emphasizes the use of molecular and biochemical tools for studying and manipulating beneficial microbial activities in agricultural and animal production systems.  Areas of study include:

  • basic microbial physiology of agriculturally important anaerobic bacteria.

  • ecological relationships between microorganisms and host animals.

  • microbial strategies for enhancing animal nutrition, health, and production.

  • molecular approaches for studying and manipulating microbes in the gastrointestinal tract and other anaerobic environments.

Specialties within Anaerobic/Nutritional Microbiology

  • Anaerobic Bacterial Physiology

  • Rumen Microbiology

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