The UF/IFAS Animal Sciences Department (ANS) is an academic department focused on creating new solutions to tomorrow’s problems. In the areas of teaching, research, and Extension, our faculty integrate the most modern technologies available with personal expertise and work to become the global leader in Animal Sciences. The department works to emphasize the IFAS research mission through science and discovery.
Research is conducted at every level in the department, from undergraduates to graduate students to faculty members. UF/IFAS ANS has 24 faculty members with research appointments and 81 graduate students. Sixty-two undergraduates were enrolled in ANS 4911 Supervised Research in Animal Sciences in the 2021-2022 academic year, meaning they participated in departmental research initiatives.
Research is funded by grants obtained by faculty members. The research grant portfolio in the ANS department is largely driven by funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), but our faculty also receive federal funding through organizations like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
“Our faculty do a remarkable job at fostering stakeholder support,” said Dr. Arthington.
The department has built long-standing relationships with large and successful applied research organizations, such as the Florida Beef Council, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, the Southeast Dairy Producers Check-Off Program, and many allied industry partners. The support of these organizations allows faculty in the department to pursue unique research ideas and opportunities.
Dr. Emily Miller-Cushon, ANS Associate Professor, is studying social behavior in dairy calves to assess and improve dairy cattle health and welfare. This project is funded by the USDA NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Program.
Dr. Miller-Cushon has had help from undergraduate research assistants enrolled in ANS 4911. Last spring, she had 15 students assisting with her project, regarding them as “a critical part” of her team.
“Students participate in aspects of dairy calf feeding and care, health management, and behavioral observation, which provides a unique hands-on learning experience,” said Dr. Miller-Cushon. “Many students choose to continue participating for multiple semesters and have the opportunity to take on an independent project.”
In the realm of research in food safety, Dr. Jason Scheffler has been focused on dried meat products, developing food safety recommendations to chefs in the service industry, and soon will be studying produce grown near livestock and poultry production with colleagues in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department (FSHN). His research funding is from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Florida Beef Council, USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program, and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. The USDA will be funding the research with FSHN.
Dr. Scheffler has also taken on undergraduates to help with his projects. They learn laboratory techniques and develop skills in critical thinking and teamwork. Some students have even decided to enroll in graduate school as a result.
“Three students that volunteered as undergraduates up stayed in the lab to pursue their master’s degrees,” said Dr. Scheffler. “Other students have gone on to veterinary school, medical school, and dental school or other advanced degrees in other labs or universities. Still, others have gone on to successful careers in industry.”
The department works hard to implement the “research” element of the UF/IFAS tripartite mission (teaching, research, and Extension) to provide students with meaningful academic experiences.
To see other research activities for the ANS department, view UF Scholars. This database displays the articles, books, awards, grants, and more for the ANS faculty over the past 36 months. Easily view area of interest by filtering by scholar, research volume, or topic.
Find more information about the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences and research activities on our website. Stay in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Any questions or inquiries regarding this piece should be directed toward Savannah Linzmaier at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more stories like this one here: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/animalsciencesdept/.