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Donald C Lay Jr

Animal Sciences 

  • Research Leader, USDA-ARS Livestock Behavior Research Unit
CRTN Room 3010
270 S. Russell St.
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2041

Area of Expertise: Animal Behavior and Well-Being

Education: B.S., Virginia Tech; M.S. and Ph.D., Texas A&M University


Research Program

Purdue Center for Animal Welfare Science

Personal Information

Don was raised in central Virginia on a traditional family farm consisting of cattle, swine and horses. He received a B.S. degree in Animal Science from Virginia Tech in 1985; and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Animal Science from Texas A&M in 1990 and 1995, respectively. Upon graduation, he accepted a position at Iowa State University as Assistant Professor specializing in Behavioral Physiology. In 2000, Don moved to West Lafayette, IN to serve as Research Leader of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service's Livestock Behavior Research Unit. This research unit is paired with members of Purdue University's Animal Sciences department, effectively creating the largest and most significant team of scientists in the U.S. focused on animal welfare. Don leads his team of scientists responsible for developing scientific measures of stress and well-being in swine, cattle, and poultry; using the multiple disciplines of stress physiology, immunology, neurophysiology, bacteriology, and ethology. Don has authored and co-authored 1 textbook, 2 book chapters, and over 100 articles of which more than 75 are peer reviewed. He has been invited to give more than 40 presentations nationally and internationally. Don has been PI or Co-PI on more than 30 externally funded grant proposals totaling approximately $3.5 million dollars. 

News Releases

Animal agriculture is focus of Purdue Ag Forecast discussion - Purdue News, January 2011

Awards & Honors

(2004) Cooperative Resolution Program Conflict Management Training. United States Department of Agriculture.

(2003) Area Early Career Research Scientist. USDA.

(2003) Certificate of Merit for Superior Supervisory Leadership. USDA.

(2002) 2002's College of Agriculture Team Award. Swine Production Systems Initiative Team.

(2002) Certificate of Merit for Supervisory Leadership. USDA.

(2001) Certificate of Merit for Superior Performance in Conducting Research, Obtaining extramural Funds, and Providing Leadership. USDA.

(2000) Iowa State University's College of Agriculture Early Achievement in Teaching Award. Iowa State University.

Selected Publications

Lay, Jr., D. C., Kattesh, H. G., Cunnick, J. E., Daniels, J. E., Kranendonk, G., McMunn, K. A., . . . Roberts, M. P. (2011). Effect of prenatal stress on subsequent response to mixing stress and a lipopolysaccharide challenge in pigs. Journal of Animal Science, 89(6), 1787-1794.

Rault, J. L., McMunn, K. A., Marchant-Forde, J. N., & Lay, Jr., D. C. (2013). Gas alternatives to carbon dioxide for euthanasia: A piglet perspective. Journal of Animal Science, 91(4), 1874-1883.

Abdelfattah, E., Karousa, M. M., Schutz, M. M., Lay, Jr., D. C., Marchant-Forde, J. N., & Eicher, S. D. (2015). Acute phase cytokines, TAC1, and Toll-like receptor4 mRNA expression and health associated with group size in veal calves. Veterinary immunology and Immunopathology, 164, 118-126.

Rault, J. L., Carter, C. S., Garner, J. P., Marchant, J. N., Richert, B. T., & Lay, Jr., D. C. (2013). Repeated intranasal oxytocin administration in early life dysregulates the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis and alters social behavior. Physiology and Behavior, 112-113, 40-48.

Rault, J. L., Mack, L. A., Carter, C. S., Garner, J. P., Marchant, J. N., Richert, B. T., & Lay, Jr., D. C. (2013). Prenatal stress puzzle, the oxytocin piece: Prenatal stress alters the behavior and autonomic regulation in piglets, insights from oxytocin. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 48(1-2), 99-107.

Abdelfattah, E., Schutz, M. M., Lay, Jr., D. C., Marchant-Forde, J. N., & Eicher, S. D. (2013). Effect of group size on behavior, health, production and welfare of veal calves. Journal of Animal Science, 91(11), 5455-5465.

Dennis, R. L., Lay, Jr., D. C., & Cheng, H. (2013). Effects of early serotonin programming on behavior and central monoamine concentrations in an avian model. Behavioural Brain Research, 253, 290-296.

Mack, L. A., Eicher, S. D., Johnson, A. K., Lay, Jr., D. C., Richert, B. T., & Pajor, E. A. (2014). Growth and reproductive development of male piglets are more vulnerable to mid-gestation maternal stress than that of female piglets. Journal of Animal Science, 92, 530-548.

Mack, L. A., Eicher, S. D., Johnson, A. K., Lay, Jr., D. C., Richert, B. T., & Pajor, E. A. (2014). Group space allowance has little effect on sow health, productivity, or welfare in a free access stall system. Journal of Animal Science, 92(6), 2554-2567.

Dennis, R. L., McMunn, K. A., Cheng, H., Marchant-Forde, J. N., & Lay, Jr., D. C. (2014). Serotonin’s role in piglet mortality. Journal of Animal Science, 92(11), 4888-4896.

Department of Animal Sciences, 270 S Russell Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4808

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