Meat Science and Muscle Biology Program

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Meat Science Scholarship Winners

April 28, 2015 by
Ben Peterson, Kendall Shimmin and Siera Crouse, Scholarship Winners
Six winners of Meat Science scholarships were honored at the Animal Sciences awards banquet on Sunday, April 19. They were: Siera Crouse, Bankson Meat Judging Scholarship Kendall Shimmim and Ethan Stites, Illinois Association of Meat Processors Scholarships Taylor Wolfer, Sleeter Bull Undergraduate Meats Award Ben Peterson, F.K. McKeith Graduate Meats Award Emily Arkfeld, Sleeter Bull Graduate Meats Award Congratulations to all our winners!

Congratulations Dr. Daniel Clark!

August 6, 2014 by
Daniel Clark is the newest PhD from the Illinois Meat Science Lab. His thesis entitled "Regulation of skeletal muscle growth and gene expression by insulin-like growth factors and myostatin" detailed both the increased lean yield of IGF2 "A" pigs and the mechanisms underlying this increase. He also determined the role of IGFs in muscle hypertrophy of myostatin null mice. After 6 years in our graduate program, we are sad to see Daniel leave but wish him the best of luck as he pursues postdoctoral work at Ohio State University.

Ryan Herrick receives MS in Meat Science

June 30, 2014 by
Successfully defending his thesis entitled "Evaluating lipid oxidation and sensory characteristics in bacon from immunologically castrated barrows", Ryan Herrick is the latest in a series of students to complete their degree this summer. Ryan, a California native, joined the lab in the fall of 2012. His MS thesis evaluated the shelf life of bacon from immunologically castrated pigs, completing a series of experiments the lab conducted into the quality of pork from Improvest-managed barrows. Ryan will be pursuing his PhD at West Texas A&M in the fall. Congratulations Ryan!

Congratulations Kelsey!

April 23, 2014 by
Kelsey Little, originally from Jacksonville, Illinois, successfully defended her MS thesis entitled "The Effects of Feeding Canola Meal from High Protein or Conventional Varieties of Canola Seeds on Pork Quality". This project, in collaboration with Dr. Hans Stein determined the carcass yield, fresh meat quality and bacon characteristics of pigs fed a new high-protein variety of canola meal. After graduation, Kelsey will join Cargill in Witchita, Kansas in the Innovation group.

A new PhD in Meat Science

April 9, 2014 by
Congratulations to Dr. Marcos Tavarez! He has successfully defended his thesis entitled "Evaluating Fat Quality and Bacon Slicing Yields in Immunologically Castrated Barrows". Marcos has been part of our lab for over 6 years now having completed his MS degree in 2011. We will be sad to see him go but wish Marcos the best of luck as he joins the faculty of his alma mater in the Domincan Republic in the fall.

Elizabeth Hogan takes Second Place in the Midwest Undergraduate Poster Competition

March 26, 2014 by Anna Dilger
Elizabeth Hogan receives her 2nd place award in Des Moines
The American Society of Animal Science held their Midwestern Section meeting March 17-19th in Des Moines, Iowa. There, an undergraduate in our lab, Elizabeth Hogan, competing in the Undergraduate Student Poster Competition winning 2nd place. Elizabeth was excited to share her research in post-mortem degradation rates of messenger RNA from subcutaneous adipose tissue of pigs. She determined that there is a 2 hour window after slaughter in which subcutaneous adipose tissue should be collected for optimal RNA quality and integrity. She also noted different rates of degradation between common adipose tissue RNA suggesting that all RNA does not degrade post-mortem at the same rate. Her results will help us plan tissue collection in future studies. We look forward to Elizabeth joining our lab as a MS student this summer. Congratulations Elizabeth!

Welcome to our new faculty and students!

January 10, 2014 by
The Meat Science Lab is pleased to welcome two new students this winter. Emily Arkfeld joins us as a PhD student having recently completed her MS degree at Iowa State. Emily is a native of Dunbar, Nebraska and earned her BS degree at the University of Nebraska in 2011. Martin Overholt, a MS student, also started in the lab in January. After obtaining his BS degree last spring, Martin has been interning for Farmland for the last several months. He is originally from Glenmont, Ohio.

It is a new beginning for Katelyn Hamlow, as well, as she begins a full-time position as a lecturer in Meat Science and a coordinator of recruiting efforts of the Department of Animal Science. Katelyn will continue to coach the collegiate Meat Judging team, as well as assist in coaching the Meat Animal Evaluation Team. Congratulations Katelyn!

Congratulations to Katelyn Jones-Hamlow!

August 17, 2013 by
Katelyn Jones-Hamlow

Katelyn successfully defended her MS thesis entitled "Effect of immunological castration on color stability, shelf life and sensory characteristics of fresh and further processed pork". We wish Katelyn good luck as she continues to coach the meat judging team this fall!

Marcos Tavarez wins the David and Norraine Baker Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Animal Science

August 17, 2013 by
Marcos with his advisor, Dr. Anna Dilger

Each year, the Department of Animal Sciences awards a graduate fellowship endowed by David and Norraine Baker to a current graduate student, and for the second year in a row, the winner was a member of our Meat Science and Muscle Biologu group. Marcos Tavarez, orginally from Santiago, Domincan Republic, joined our group in 2008 to complete his MS degree while on a Fulbright Fellowship. His MS thesis, completed in 2011 under the direction of Dr. John Killefer, focused on the effect of ractopamine in pork shoulder yield and quality including further processed product quality. His work completed a set of studies in which we characterized the yield and futher processed quality of various pork primals subsequent to ractopamine treatment. Marcos is currently completing his PhD under the direction of Dr. Anna Dilger focusing on belly and bacon quality especially of immunogically castrated pigs. He expects to complete his PhD in 2014 and return to the Domincan Republic. Congratulations Marcos!

Congratulations to Brad Lowe!

August 3, 2013 by

Brad sucessfully defended his thesis entitled "Effects of Feeding Ractopamine (Paylean) to Immunologically Castrated (Improvest) Pigs on Growth Performance, Carcass Yields, and Further Processing Characteristics". Brad has joined Smithfield Foods in Clinton, North Carolina.