Growth Biology & Meat Science

  • Buskirk, Daniel (beef nutrition, nutritional management, growth biology)
  • Ernst, Cathy (swine and bovine molecular genetics, growth biology, meat science)

Daniel Buskirk, Associate Professor

Our research focuses on nutritional management of beef systems. Current research includes manipulating carcass traits by feeding regimen, and identifying factors affecting proliferation and differentiation of bovine preadipocytes. This will provide insight necessary to exploit developmental differences in adipose tissue depots through nutrition and management. The ultimate goal is to enhance the quality of consumer-driven beef products. Additional areas of research include calf weaning systems that reduce stress and improve gain, stocker cattle management strategies that optimize feed use, and cow feeding systems that improve forage utilization.

Catherine W. Ernst, Professor
Principal Investigator, Molecular Genetics Laboratory
Nancy Raney, Research Technician and Laboratory Coordinator

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.