ANSC Annual Graduate Student Awards Luncheon
Friday, May 10, 2013

The Animal Sciences Annual Graduate Student Awards Luncheon was held in conjunction with the events of the Celebration of Science. The Celebration of Science included the LOUJA competition, the ANSC Graduate Student Awards luncheon as well as a speaker from the Ohio State University (Dr. Wondwossen A. Gebreyes), Dr. Haley Oliver from the Department of Food Science, Drs. Marcos Rostagno and Paul Ebner from our own Department.

2013 ANSC Graduate Committee
Todd Applegate, Chair
Committee members: Layi Adeola, Ryan Cabot, Paul Ebner, Shihuan Kuang, Maja Makagon, Jeremy Marchant-Forde, and Scott Radcliffe

THE LOUJA GRADUATE TRAVEL AWARDS were established to provide grants to Animal Sciences Graduate students, presenting outstanding research papers based upon original research and excellence of presentation. The LOUJA Graduate Travel Awards were established in honor of the leadership and dedication to the animal industry of Dr. and Mrs. J.L. Krider. Dr. Krider served as Head of Purdue's Department of Animal Sciences from 1963 to 1971 and Professor until his retirement in 1979. Previously he had served on the staffs of Cornell University and University of Illinois as well as on administrative assignments with Central Soya. He was very active in many organizations serving as President of the American society of Animal Science and as a consultant to several organizations and countries.

Each year, Dr. Jake Krider and his wife, Louise, provide travel funds to a few Animal Science graduate students to attend scientific meetings. Eligible students must be the author or a co-author on the abstract and must be the presenter at the meeting. Meetings can be regional, national, or international as long as the proceedings are published to public acquisition or viewing. Students will have 12 min. for the oral presentation followed by a 3-minute questionnaire period. This time schedule applied to both slide and poster presentations.

Mrs. Krider passed in October, 2000 and Dr. Krider passed in June, 2005.


LOUJA award winners
Left to right: Dr. Todd Applegate, Graduate Committee Chair, Katherine Boesche, Tana Dennis, Nathan Horn, Xin Yang, and Chunmin Wang

Katherine Boesche - Regulation of pyravate carboxylase expression by fatty acid cocktails in Madin-Darby bovine kidney cells.

Tana Dennis - Impact of increased dietary grain inclusion of growth performance of prepubertal dairy heifers.

Nathan Horn - Impact of acute water and feed deprivation event on mucin, cytokine, and tight junction gene expression in weaned pigs.

Chunmin Wang - Store-operated calcium entry is required to sustain the fertilization calcium signal in pig oocytes.

Xin Yang - Does brown fat regenerate?


The Book Harmon Leadership Scholarship was established in 2005 by Bob Book and Bud Harmon in recognition of their efforts to provide and promote leadership in animal agriculture. Each year, the Book-Harmon Leadership Scholarship provides a $1,000 scholarship to reward a graduate student in Animal Sciences that has displayed outstanding leadership skills and efforts.

Criteria for receiving the scholarship:

  • Major in Animal Sciences
  • Have and maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0
  • Possess good communication and leadership skills
  • Be involved with department, university and national organizations
The Book-Harmon Leadership Scholarship is awarded to Nathan Horn.

Nathan Horn receiving the award from Dr. Todd Applegate
Nathan stated that there are many characteristics that are necessary for effective leadership, but it all begins with a good attitude. Characteristics of a good attitude might include a positive outlook even in bad circumstances, contagious passion for issues at hand, and an ability to provide an attitude that builds up a team. Other characteristics include: good work ethic, being a team player, good communication skills, flexibility, responsibility, and accountability. An effective leader is flexible and willing to deviate from the original plan of action.

Nathan and Meliza Ward have been involved in the development of an Animal Sciences Junior Scholars program. The goal of this program is to provide mentoring opportunities for graduate students while providing an introductory research experience for high school or undergraduate students considering advanced study in Animal Sciences. The program has recently received departmental approval and will begin the Summer of 2013.

Congratulations, Nathan!



The purpose of the Gerry W. Friars Fellowship is to alleviate some of the monetary stress of foreign students at Purdue University. Dr. Gerry Friars completed his Ph.D. at Purdue University in 1961, while on leave from the Ontario Agricultural College; the College later became part of the University of Guelph. Dr. Friars' career at Guelph from 1951 to 1985 involved teaching and research in poultry and fish genetics and breeding. From 1985 to 1995, he was the Chief Scientist at the Atlantic Salmon Federation with a cross appointment at the University of New Brunswick. His long association with graduate students cultivated an awareness of the financial needs of these students. An annual award of $400 is awarded to an international M.S. or Ph.D. student studying quantitative poultry or fish genetics in the Department of Animal Sciences. This year's recipient is Feifei Yan.

Feifei Yan
Feifei has a B.S. degree in Veterinary Medicine and is completing a M.S. in Animal Welfare with Drs. Cheng and Hester. In 2010, she was elected the Outstanding Graduate of Zhejiang University. Her Bachelor research thesis, "The effects of IGF-I on avian prehuerarchy ovary follicles development," was one of the top 100 graduate theses at Zhejiang University.

Feifei has dedicated herself to animal science and desires to assist small farming practices in maximizing their efficiency, which meets up well for studying animal behavior and well-being. Her M.S. program is "The effect of perch access on physiological homeostasis during the life cycle of White Leghorns."  Feifei will continue on here for a Ph.D. Her Ph.D. program will be "Neuronal plasticity and perch access on well-being in laying hens."

Congratulations, Feifei!


The W.R. Featherston Awards were established to recognize the outstanding achievements of graduate students in the Department of Animal Sciences. These awards were established in honor of the leadership and dedication to graduate students exhibited by Professor W.R. Featherston. Professor Featherston was on the staff from July 1962 to June 3, 1980, the date of his untimely death. Professor Featherston's teaching and research activities were a source of guidance, encouragement and inspiration to the graduate students.


The Featherston Off-campus Training Fellowship was established in memory of Professor W.R. Featherston to annually provide financial support for a M.S. or Ph.D. degree student in the Department of Animal Sciences to attend a formal career development training program, organized workshop, or course off campus. The recipient will be given a check for reimbursement of the expenses, certificate of award, individual plaque and her/his name will be added to the permanent plaque maintained within the Department. This year's recipient of this award is Hui Yu.

Hui Yu acccepting the award from Dr. Todd Applegate
Hui started her Ph.D. in August 2009 in Dr. Bidwell's laboratory. Hui received her M.S. from the Northwest A&F University in Yangling, China and her B.S. is from the Northeast Agricultural University in Harbin, China.

Hui will travel to the University of California, Davis in September to obtain Bioinformatics training for the analysis of short read high throughput DNA sequence analysis. This workshop will enable her to become familiar with some of the basic tools that are available through open source software. The Bioinformatics Core can also provide help and advice that will enable her to build upon what she learns in the workshop.

Congratulations, Hui!


The Featherston Early Graduate Career Award was established in memory of Professor W.R. Featherston to annually recognize the outstanding M.S. or Ph.D. student within his/her first two years of graduate study. The award consists of $650, plus a certificate of award, individual plaque and her/his name will be added to the permanent plaque maintained within the department. This year's recipient is Gabriela Morello.

Gabriela Morello receiving the award from Dr. Todd Applegate
Gabriela joined Dr. Marchant-Forde's lab in August 2011 and is in the second year of her Ph.D. studies.

Gabriela has devised, coordinated and completed a complex pilot project, with multiple components, investigating the effects of microclimate on piglet mortality and sow behavior. These data have given tantalizing evidence that all farrowing crates within a room are not created equal and that the subtle differences in environmental parameters, such as temperature, humidity, air-flow, sound and light intensity can impact overall pig mortality and also important behaviors of the sow that contribute to crushing mortality. These data will be presented at an international congress (I.S.A.E.) in Brazil this summer.

So far in her career, she has produced 24 abstracts, given oral presentations at national and international meetings and has 6 manuscripts published, 1 under revision and 1 more in preparation. She has lectured for ANSC 40400 and been a teaching assistant twice for ANSC 40400. She has helped with the Animal Sciences Quadrathlon. Outside of the Department, she was chosen one of only 30 graduate fellows from universities across the U.S. at the 2012 Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security.

Congratulations Gabriela!


The Featherston Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award was established in memory of Professor W.R. Featherston to annually recognize the outstanding teaching by an M.S. or Ph.D. student within the Department. The award consists of $850, plus a certificate of award, an individual plaque and their name will be added to a permanent plaque maintained within the Department. This year's recipient is Emily Taylor.

Emily Taylor receiging the award from Dr. Todd Applegate
Emily is pursuing a M.S. in nutrition and is working with Dr. Lemenager. Emily was a TA her first semester for ANSC 32400. Her second semester, she was a TA for ANSC 43500. Currently, Emily is a TA for ANSC 32400. She is responsible for two lab sections and has been instrumental in presenting lectures when Dr. Radcliffe is out of town.

One of her nominators stated that a majority of the laboratories for ANSC 43500 were hands-on, such as cattle and swine insemination, semen collection, semen evaluation and storage techniques. Emily was very adept at providing assistance to students in learning these new skills. Emily presented two excellent lectures during the semester, one on Bovine Estrous Synchronization and the other on Parturition and Dystocia in Cattle. The content, organization, handouts and presentation were right on target.

Another nominator stated that Emily clearly likes to teach and is good at it. She knows that you can always improve and readily seeks out feedback on her teaching. It is this desire to continually improve and drive to seek out advice and input that clearly sets her apart from most of her peers.

Congratulations Emily!



The Featherston Outstanding M.S. Award was established in memory of Professor W.R. Featherston to annually recognize the Outstanding M.S. student within the department. The award consists of $500, Certificate of Award, an Individual plaque and the recipient's name will be added to a permanent plaque maintained within the department. The Featherston Outstanding M.S. Award is presented to Feifei Yan.

Feifei Yan
Feifei completed her undergraduate career at the College of Animal Science of Zhejiang University in China. She started her M.S. program in Spring 2011 and will graduate in May. Feifei will continue in Animal Sciences for her Ph.D.

Feifei has been very productive in her time here with an overwhelming enthusiasm for the pursuit of scientific knowledge. Her academic input has merited first authorship on three manuscripts under preparation and two abstracts presented during the Poultry Science Association annual meeting.

Congratulations Feifei!



The Featherston Outstanding Ph.D. Award was established in memory of Professor W.R. Featherston to annually recognize the outstanding Ph.D. student within the department. This award is considered an extremely high honor in the Graduate Program and serves to reward excellence. The award consists of $1,000, a certificate of award, an individual plaque and the recipient's name will be added to a permanent plaque maintained within the Department. This year's recipient of this award is Heather Tucker.

Heather Tucker
Heather entered the graduate program in Fall 2009 after completing a M.S. at Virginia Tech. She successfully defended her dissertation in February and will officially graduate in May. Heather has been extremely active in research, teaching, and leadership activities. She has been a teaching assistant and a valuable asset for ANSC 44400. She has a solid knowledge of applied nutrition principles and was able to help students understand the issues related to nutrition and the practical importance of a deeper understanding of nutritional science.

Heather's Ph.D. research focused on protein and amino acid nutrition in early lactation dairy cows with particular emphasis on lysine supply in diets that contain considerable quantities of biofuels co-products.

Heather selflessly gave service to her fellow graduate students as a member of the ANSC Graduate Student Association, as president of the Association, and as a member of the College of Agriculture's Graduate Programs Advisory Council. She was active in promoting Animal Sciences through outreach activities including campus visits by students and through participation in the annual 4-H Workshop for Youth. Regardless of her obligations, Heather was always willing to take on one more service challenge and always did so with delight.

Heather has accepted a postdoctoral position with the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute where basic and applied science is used to provide solutions to contemporary problems confronting the dairy and equine industries. The opportunity will serve to enhance her teaching, research, and outreach effectiveness.

Congratulations Heather!