2019 Biennial APSA Conference Speakers

Dr R. Dean Boyd - Innovation through research in the North American pork industry

Dr R. Dean Boyd is the former Technical Leader for the Hanor Company and Triumph Foods group (2002-2017). His team managed the Nutrition program for 90,000 sows and 2.45 million pigs. He holds adjunct Professorships in animal nutrition at North Carolina State and Iowa State Universities. Dr Boyd’s research has led to a better understanding of energy and amino acid nutrition, ingredient mitigation of disease stress on growth, and the profound life-time effects of low weaning age. His team proved that seasonal infertility could be alleviated by specific amounts of essential fatty acids. He has published more than 200 scientific papers in scholarly journals, book chapters and conference papers. He received the Animal Nutrition Research award for distinguished contributions in 2016.

Prof Carol Bagnell - Maternal programming of development in the pig and the lactocrine hypothesis

Dr Carol Bagnell, PhD is Professor of Reproductive Biology in the Department of Animal Sciences at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. She’s served as department chair and is currently Graduate Program Director in Endocrinology and Animal Biosciences. Her studies, using the pig as a model, focus on improving our understanding of maternal programming of development by testing the lactocrine hypothesis. Dr Bagnell’s group defined the term ‘lactocrine’ as a means of maternal delivery of milk-borne bioactive factors into the circulation of nursing offspring. Results of her research in pigs provide compelling evidence for both short-term effects of milk-borne factors on neonatal uterine and cervical development as well as long-term consequences of lactocrine signaling on reproductive health and fertility in adulthood. Since all mammals evolved to nurse, this research in pigs has broad implications for understanding maternal contributions to postnatal reproductive tract programming in both humans and domestic animals.

Dr Clay Lents - Kisspeptin and reproduction in the pig

Dr Clay Lents is a Research Physiologist for the USDA in the Reproduction Research Unit at U.S. Meat Animal Research Center. Dr Lents has a unique and diverse background ranging from neuroanatomy, endocrinology, reproductive physiology, metabolism and transcriptomics. His current research focuses on integrating information from both applied and basic research to discover key mechanisms controlling growth and reproduction, which is used to develop approaches to improve reproductive development, performance and lifetime productivity of gilts.

Prof Mike Tokach - Nutrient requirements of the modern high-producing lactating sow, with an emphasis on amino acid requirements

Named among the 50 people who have made the greatest impact in the US swine industry in the last 50 years, Mike Tokach, professor of animal sciences and industry, is a swine nutrition researcher and extension specialist at Kansas State University. Mike joined K-State in 1991. In 2013, he earned the title of university distinguished professor. He is the author of more than 310 articles in scientific journals, eight book chapters and more than 1,000 extension and non-refereed articles. Mike has received more than $18 million in research grants and gifts. He also has been awarded seven patents for his research, and has given more than 300 invited lectures at national and international conferences. Mike has also advised and mentored over 100 advanced-degree students and visiting professors since joining the university.

Dr Steve Little - Water medication of growing pigs - sources of between-animal variability in systemic exposure to antimicrobials

Dr Steve Little graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science from The University of Melbourne. He has worked for 30 years in the commercial Australian stockfeed and animal production sectors in field and technical management roles and as a consultant. Steve's strong interest in (and frustration with) the uncertainties related to farm drinking water systems and mass-medication of pigs through their drinking water to control and treat diseases has motivated him to return to the vet school at The University of Melbourne to undertake a PhD with support from the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship. Steve's research is investigating sources of between-animal variability in systemic exposure to an antimicrobial administered to a group of pigs through the water system, and how to reduce under-dosing and over-dosing on farms.  

Dr Kristy DiGiacomo - Insect meal - a future source of protein feed for pigs?

Dr Kristy DiGiacomo graduated with a Bachelor of Animal Science and Management (Honours) from The University of Melbourne. Kristy then received her PhD from The University of Melbourne examining the physiological and metabolic responses to heat and dietary betaine in ruminants, under the guidance of Prof Frank Dunshea and Prof Brian Leury. Kristy is a lecturer in production animal nutrition and physiology at The University of Melbourne and is a Veski sustainable agriculture fellow. Her research involves a variety of species and focuses on livestock nutrition, physiology and adaptation to the external environment. Kristy’s current research includes investigating the sustainable production of protein sources for animal feed.

Prof Robyn Warner - Analysis of the process and drivers for cellular meat production

Robyn Warner works as Professor in Meat Science at The University of Melbourne in Australia where she applies her meat science and muscle biochemistry training to problems confronting the meat industry, supervises post-graduate students and teaches Meat Science. Robyn has published over 100 papers in refereed journals, has given invited lectures in countries around the globe and serves as an editor for the journals Meat and Muscle Biology, online Food journal and Animal Production Science. She was the winner of the 2014 American Meat Science Association International Lectureship Award and has also received national and international awards for her role on the Meat Standards Australia food grading scheme. Robyn is most interested in conducting investigations of the biology, biochemistry and biophysics of muscle through the chain, from animals to consumers. Also Robyn is very interested in how the muscle responds to innovative and emerging processing, packaging systems and cooking, in determining product integrity, consumer acceptability and meat quality.

Prof Mark Hutchinson - What innovations in pain management and control might be possible if we could quantify the neuroimmune synapse?

Professor Mark Hutchinson is the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), a Professor within the Adelaide Medical School, and an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Adelaide. Mark returned to the University of Adelaide in 2009 as an NHMRC CJ Martin Research Fellow, and established the Neuroimmunopharmacology research laboratory. From 2005 to 2009 Mark worked in the world leading laboratory of Prof Linda Watkins in the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Here he pioneered with Prof Watkins the research which has led to the discovery of novel drug activity at innate immune receptors. Mark’s research has implicated the brain immune-like cells in the action of drugs of dependence and the negative side effects of pain treatments. His work has enabled the translation of compounds at the lab bench to clinical agents used at the bedside. Mark has published over 160 papers in journals and refereed conference proceedings.

Asst Prof Tomas Norton - Precision livestock farming - building 'digital representations' to bring the animals closer to the farmer

Tomas Norton is a nominated Assistant Professor in Precision Livestock Farming (PLF). He is based in the Division of Animal and Human and Health Engineering (group of M3-BIORES) at the KU Leuven. He holds a PhD in Biosystems Engineering from University College Dublin (Ireland). His current research focus is on PLF applications, focussing on real-time modelling and control of animal bio-responses. He is PI and co-PI on collaborative national and international projects funded by the Belgium government, EU-H2020 and USDA. He is coordinator of courses on Measuring, Modelling and Managing Bio-responses and Sustainable PLF, and Animal Production Engineering at the KU Leuven. Since 2018 Tomas has been a member of the Flemish scientific team on air emissions from livestock buildings, Chair of Section 2 of International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (CIGR) and a member of the CIGR executive board.

Mr Chris Piotrowski - The potential of portable near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for assuring quality and authenticity in the food chain, using Iberian hams as an example

Chris Piotrowski is currently a Director at Aunir, a leading NIR calibration development company and part of AB Vista. Chris has been working in the feed industry for 40 years. An Analytical Chemist by training, Chris introduced the first NIR network in the UK in the 1980’s. Chris now leads the technical development of Near Infrared calibrations and applications at Aunir and has been instrumental in bringing innovative on-farm NIR applications to the animal nutrition market. Chris is widely recognised globally for his contribution to the development of NIR calibrations for agricultural applications, including many novel applications based on animal in-vivo studies.