Major Professors

Students should identify and contact a major professor with their area of interest.

Derris Burnett
Associate Professor


  • Molecular Approaches to Improve Muscle Composition and Meat Quality
  • Prenatal Programming of Postnatal Growth and Body Composition
  • Depot-Specific Adipose Tissue Development
  • Nutrient Partitioning and Metabolic Flexibility in Muscle and Adipose Tissue

Clay Cavinder


  • Effects of nutrition and exercise on reproductive efficiency of the stallion and mare

Thu Dinh
Associate Professor


  • Meat quality: the oxidation, packaging, and preservation of meat; meat tenderness, flavor, flavor precursors, and composition
  • Analytical methodology for meat and food research: LC, LC/MS, GC, GC/MS, AA, NIR; method development and validation

Jean Feugang
Assistant Research Professor


  • Biology of mammalian gametes and embryos
  • Post-collection semen manipulation (i.e., in vitro analyses, purification, and cryopreservation)
  • Non-invasive luminescence and fluorescence bioimaging
  • Nanotechnology in animal production, reproduction, and disease prevention
  • Various biological techniques are employed:
    1. cell and embryo culture;
    2. biochemical and cellular assays (i.e., ELISA and apoptosis analyses);
    3. proteomics (protein isolation, western-blot, and high-throughput approach);
    4. transcriptomics (DNA/RNA isolation, PCR, and high-throughput approach);
    5. Biophotonic imaging (bioluminescence and fluorescence).

Kelsey Harvey
Assistant Professor


  • Applied beef cattle management
  • Stage-specific nutrient interventions to improve productive and health responses
  • Heifer development

Brandi Karisch

Milton Sundbeck Endowed Associate Extension/Research Professor

  • Improving efficiency of beef production
  • Applied beef cattle management

Jamie Larson
Professor, Graduate Coordinator


  • Improving reproductive efficiency in dairy and beef cattle
  • Studying heat stress and reproduction physiology
  • Understanding the role of hormones in early embryonic death
  • Looking at the effects of dam nutritional stress on her offspring

Caleb Lemley
Associate Professor


  • Reproductive endocrinology and developmental programming in livestock
  • Environmental influence on dam fertility and conceptus development
  • Developing in vitro systems to examine reproductive and nutrient transferring tissue physiology
  • Microbiome of the reproductive tract

Shengfa Liao
Associate Professor


  • Nutrient regulation of animal growth/development and health
  • Diet/feed evaluation for swine production
  • Swine model for human nutrition and health
  • Molecular biotechnoloy

Molly Nicodemus
Associate Professor


  • Understanding the normal gait mechanics of the performance horse
  • Identifying gait parameters that may indicate lameness in the performance horse
  • Determining the influence of training and training devices on performance horses
  • Studying the development of equine gait mechanics through aging
  • Looking at the interaction between the rider and equine gait mechanics
  • Evaluating the impact of animal assisted activities and therapy on physical, psychological, and cognitive disabilities

Jane Parish
Professor and Head
North MS Research and Extension Center


  • Forage systems for beef production
  • Applied beef cattle management

Trent Smith
Associate Professor


  • Estimation of genetic parameters in performance, carcass, and consumer related traits in beef cattle
  • Evaluation of beef breeds, breed types, and mating systems

Amanda Stone
Assistant Professor


  • Mastitis
  • Heat stress
  • Pasture grazing
  • Disease detection
  • Precision dairy monitoring

Rhonda Vann
Research Professor


  • Growth and development of beef cattle with emphasis in heifer development
  • Reproductive efficiency
  • Live animal carcass evaluation
  • Immunity, animal behavior, and herd health
  • Growth development and reproductive physiology in sheep