Cathy Ernst

Professor, Meat Animal Molecular Genetics

Cathy Ernst
1205H Anthony Hall

Phone: (517) 432-1941




  • BS, Ohio State University
  • MS, Iowa State University
  • PhD, Ohio State University


80% Research, 20% Teaching

The overall goal of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory is to identify and evaluate molecular markers and genes for the genetic improvement of pigs and beef cattle with emphasis on performance traits, carcass composition and meat quality. Current projects include a genetical genomics project in pigs that involves integration of genetic marker and gene expression data for identifying genes controlling skeletal muscle and fat deposition and their relationship to growth, carcass merit and meat quality traits. Additional projects include identification of differentially expressed genes in developing pig skeletal muscle, transcriptional profiling of pigs infected with PRRS virus, and evaluation of behavior and temperament traits and their association with production traits in beef cattle and pigs. These projects are in collaboration with Drs. Juan Steibel, Ron Bates and Joan Lunney (USDA-ARS BARC, leader of the PRRS Host Genetics Consortium), as well as other colleagues at MSU, throughout the US, and in Brazil, Thailand, Korea and China.