Sustainable Beef Systems Research Group

Graduate Students

This webpage was last updated on April 26, 2014.


13 M.Sc. and 6 Ph.D. students in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science, and 4 Ph.D. students at WCVM are currently supervised by members of this group. Over 32 M.Sc. and 8 Ph.D. students graduated since 2005.

Graduate Student Funding

Graduate Student Stipends and scholarships are received from: Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canadian Wheat Board, Unviersity of Saskatchewan, and WCVM Interprovincial Graduate Student Fellowship Program. Some scholarship funding is occasionally available for foreign students but some funding is available only to Canadian students.

Persons interested in graduate studies, should email members doing research in their area of interest.

Graduate Student Degrees

Graduate degrees are obtained from the departments where members of our group have their primary appointment and include:

Graduate Student Courses

A wide variety of graduate level courses are available that focus fully or in large part on beef cattle. Depending on the program and degree, graduate students take 3-5 graduate level courses.

Some Current Graduate Students

The following are examples of grad students currently conducting research in cattle.

Jillian Duncombe is originally from Calgary, AB but grew up on an acreage in Mayview, SK. She completed her BSA in Animal Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 2014, and is now pursuing her M.Sc. with Dr. Fiona Buchanan. Her research will focus on the use of Marker Assisted Management to increase marbling and lean yield simultaneously in beef cattle.


Jayakrishnan Nair "JK" completed his veterinary degree at Kerala Agricultural University and then worked for 7 years as a veterinarian in rural areas of Kerala, India. He started his Master's degree at U of S under the supervision of Dr. John McKinnon in September 2011 and successfully defended his thesis in December 2013. He then began a Ph.D. in January 2014 on Nutritional Evaluation of Forage Barley Varieties for Silage and Swath Grazing.



Katarzyna Burakowska is a new PhD student working with Dr. Greg Penner. She comes from Kraków, which is a beautiful city located in the southern part of Poland. It’s also where she completed her Master's degree studies in Biotechnology at University of Agriculture. She spent half a year in Wageningen University, Netherlands as an exchange student. Her PhD project will concentrate on utilization of canola meal in feeding of newborn calves and is a cooperative study between her alma mater in Poland and U of S.


Divya Jose is from India and did her undergraduate studies at Kerala Agricultural University. She is doing a M.Sc. under the supervision of Dr. Bart Lardner. Divya is evaluating corn as a winter feeding strategy in beef cattle.


Stephanie McMillian is originally from Middle Lake, Saskatchewan. She grew up with horses and shows competitively on the paint horse circuit. Stephanie completed her BSA at the U of S in 2011 and began working with Agriculture Canada. She has returned to the U of S to do her Master's with Dr.Bart Lardner. Stephanie is evaluating grazing corn varieties to extend the grazing season and reduce winter feed costs in Western Canada.


Natalie Preston grew up on a sheep farm in southern Alberta that has just expanded to include 30 cows. She completed her BSA at the U of S in the Animal and Poultry Science department in 2013. Natalie began her M.Sc. under the supervision of John McKinnon and Tim McAllister in feedlot cattle nutrition.


Faustin Joy is a M.Sc. student who joined the department in January 2012. Faustin is working with Dr. Greg Penner, examining fat supplementation in finishing feedlot cattle. Faustin is from India and completed his BVSc from Kerala Agricultural University. He also completed a Masters in Animal Genetics from India. Before joining our department he worked as a Veterinary Officer for the Indian Defense Service for seven years.


Hiruni Ridmika Wijesena joined the Department of Animal and Poultry Science in fall 2013 as a M.Sc. student under the supervision of Dr. Sheila Schmutz. She comes from Sri Lanka and completed her B.A.Sc. (Hons) in Animal Science from Uva Wellassa University in Sri Lanka. With the exposure she gained during her undergraduate training, she decided to develop her career in academia and joined the Uva Wellassa University academic staff as an Assistant Lecturer in 2012. She was involved in teaching animal breeding and genetics. Her M.Sc. research involves developing a set of DNA tests for selection of replacement heifers.


Ali Mirabzadeh-Ardakani is from Iran . The last part of his surname indicates that he was born in the small city at the center of Iran, Ardakan. He was accepted as a Bachelor (B.Sc.) student at the Animal Science department of University of Tehran in 2003 and graduated with a B.Sc. in 2007. After completing a Master's degree at the same University, he started his Ph.D. program in September 2011 under the supervision of Dr. Sheila Schmutz. He is working on the Potential Immune Response Effects of Beta Defensin 103 in Beef Cattle.


Kayla Madder is pursuing her Master's under the supervision of Dr. Fiona Buchanan and Dr. Chris Luby. She completed a B.Sc. in Biology & Biotechnology at the U of S in April 2011 and a B.Sc. in Psychology in 2013. In May 2011, she started working in Fiona Buchanan's lab as a lab technician. Her M.Sc. part-time research is phase three of a cattle nutrigenetics study involving vitamin A.


Christine Rosser grew up on a 100 head cow/calf farm 30 miles South of Ponteix, SK. She completed her undergrad in Animal Science at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan. Her M.Sc. research is focused on determining the optimal harvest maturity of barley and oat whole-crop forage that is utilized in extensive feeding systems, such as swath-grazing. She harvested barley and oat whole-crop forage at three maturity stages, late milk, hard dough and mature. This forage was utilized to determine nutrient yield, digestibility, ruminal fermentation characteristics, and voluntary intake of the forage. Her supervisor is Dr. Greg Penner.


Some Recent Graduate Students

Ruwini Dharmasiri Gamage completed her M.Sc. in spring 2014, working with Dr. Bart Lardner. Her research project was the utilization of stockpiled perennial forages in winter feeding systems for beef cattle. She completed her Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree in 2009 in Sri Lanka and worked as a demonstrator at the Department of Veterinary Parasitology, faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.


Kristin Krone grew up on a mixed farm west of Saskatoon. She completed her BSA at the U of S in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science in spring 2012. Kristin began her Master's work in September of 2012 under the supervision of Dr. Fiona Buchanan and Dr. John McKinnon. Her research focus is phase two of a nutrigenetic investigation into the role of vitamin A in intramuscular fat deposition in feedlot cattle.


Rodrigo Ivan Albornoz graduate from the Faculty of Agronomy at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He completed a Master's degree under the supervision of Dr. Greg Penner in 2013. His thesis is about the negative effect of short-term feed restrictions on rumen epithelial functions and feeding management before and after the restriction.

    Marcos Gonzalo Zenobi is from Agrentina, Cordoba. He received his Agronomist Engineering degree from the National University of Cordoba. Following graduate , Marcos began working for INTA (National Institute of Agriculture Technology) specializing in animal nutrition (silage and grasses). He also enrolled in a post graduate program in bovine reproduction. Marcos completed a M.Sc.degreee in ruminant nutrition under the supervision of Dr. John McKinnon in 2012. His thesis involves the creation of a blended feed that targets the specific nutrient requirements of specific classes of cattle in order to minimize the overfeeding of nutrients, such as protein. Marcos is pursuing a PhD in Florida.

  Siping Zhang grew up in China and received her Bachelor's degree of Agriculture at the College of Animal Science and Technology in Northwest A & F University in China in July 2010. She completed her Master's degree under the supervision of Dr. Greg Penner in 2012. Her thesis involved the negative effects of feed restriction on rumen absorptive and barrier function and the immune activiation in beef cattle. Siping returned to China to work there.

Alison Ward grew up in Saskatoon. She completed her BSA in animal science from the University of Saskatchewan in 2006. Following that she began an M.Sc. with Drs. Fiona Buchanan and Hank Classen examining the nutrigenetic effects of feeding canola meal to laying hens. After completing her M.Sc. in 2008, Alison immediately began a Ph.D. with Dr. Fiona Buchanan which she completed in 2011. Her thesis examines the role of vitamin A in fat deposition in feedlot steers. Alison looks forward to pursuing a career in academia in the new and emerging field of nutrigenetics. Alison is currently doing a post-doc at the U of S.

Ashely Krause grew up in West St. Paul, MB. She completed her BSA in Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan in the spring of 2009 and her M.Sc. in 2013, under the supervision of Dr. Bart Lardner. Her study is at the Western Beef Development Centre's Termuende Research Ranch located near Lanigan, Saskatchewan. Her thesis focussed on feeding crop residues to mature beef cows due to their potential to reduce winter feed costs.

Khalil Sahtout was born in Kuwait, after which he lived in Syria, followed by Malaysia. In Malaysia he finished his schooling as well as graduating from Monash University with a B.Sc (Honours) in Biotechnology. He then moved to Canada, and graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a B.Sc. in Animal and Poultry Science. He completed his MSc in 2012, under the supervision of Dr. John McKinnon. His thesis was based on identifying weaknesses with the NRC (2000) model. He is currently enrolled in a PhD program on feed processing.

Renee Petri grew up on a small mixed animal farm west of Edmonton, Alberta. She completed a B.Sc. in Agriculture at the University of Alberta in 2004. In 2004 Renee worked for the Alberta Provincial Government on a one year internship for 4-H. In May of 2005, she moved to Saskatoon to work with Dr. McKinnon on her Masters in Ruminant Nutrition, looking at the effects of graded levels of wheat based dried distillers' grains with solubles on the growth performance, carcass characteristics and rumen fermentation. In August of 2008, Renee completed her Masters and started directly into her Ph.D. programme with Drs. T. McAllister of the Lethbridge Research Station, Agriculture and Agir-Food Canada and J. McKinnon at the University of Saskatchewan, which she completed in 2013. Her thesis addresses the changes in rumen microbial populations of finishing steers undergoing sub-acute ruminal acidosis using wheat-based dried distillers' grains as a model.


Kate Davies is from a dairy farm in the UK. She completed her BSc in Agriculture at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK in 2001, after which she travelled to New Zealand to work on a farm for 10 months. Kate came to Canada in 2002 to study for an MSc on the "Regulation of folliculogenesis in sheep" at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine with Dr. Rawlings. She completed her Ph.D. under the supervision of Drs. John McKinnon and Tim Mutsvangwa in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science in 2013. Her thesis focused on the effects of dietary crude protein and fermentable carbohydrate levels on urea recycling and microbial protein production in beef cattle with an aim to reduce nitrogen output. She is now employed as an extension specialist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Brooke Aitken grew up near Eyebrow, Saskatchewan on a beef and sheep farm. She graduated with her BSA in Animal Science from the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskathcewan in 2008. She promptly began graduate studies in Applied Ethology under Dr Joseph Stookey at the WCVM. Brooke has also spend some time working in the swine industry, but has decided to focus her research on cattle behaviour. Her Master's thesis focussed on the possibility of predicting the maternal behaviour of beef cattle. She completed her Master's degree in 2011 and is now a rancher in Saskatchewan, with cattle and sheep.

Lynne Girardin is originally from a farm near Meyronne, a small town in south-west Saskatchewan. She obtained her Agriculture degree in 2005 and worked in the livestock industry in swine, dairy and beef production. She started her Masters program in January 2007 under the supervision of Dr. Bart Lardner (WBDC) and Dr. Alan Iwaasa (AAFC-SPARC). Her project was conducted at three different sites: 1. Western Beef Development Centre at Lanigan, SK; 2. AAFC - Semiarid Prairie Agriculture Research Centre in Swift Current, SK; and 3. AAFC - Brandon Research Centre in Brandon, MB. The focus of her research was determining the production and economic efficiencies of March vs. June Calving Systems. She completed her Master's thesis in 2011.

  Leanne Van De Weyer completed her Master's degree in the Department of Large Animal Clincial Sciences, WCVM, under the supervision of Dr. Cheryl Waldner in 2011. She has a degree in Agriculture, Education and Veterinary Medicine from the University of Saskatchewan. After completing her DVM, she worked in a mixed animal practice in Weyburn, Sk for 11 years. She is a distance graduate student and resides in Weyburn with her family. In order to complete her M.Sc. course requirements, she is also enrolled in the U of London's School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Epidemiology distance program where the focus is on human epidemiology. Her Master's thesis examined the association between trace mineral status and reproductive success in beef cow-calf hers on PFRA pastures in southern Saskatchewan, as well as gathering information on the prevalence of Leptospirosis and Campylobacter in these animals.

Amber Smith grew up on a farm in central Saskatchewan, near Craik. She received a B.Sc. in Biology in 2006. She completed her M.Sc. in Soil Science under the co-supervision of Dr. Jeff Schoenau and Dr. Bart Lardner in 2011. Her study was conducted at the Western Beef Development Centre's research farm located near Lanigan, Saskatchewan. She examined the potential nutrient export in run-off and leaching from an in-pasture wintering system in her thesis.

Amanda Van De Kerckhove grew up in Moosomin, SK. She obtained her BSA in the spring of 2007 at the U of S, majoring in Animal Science. She completed her M.Sc. thesis in 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Bart Lardner. Utilizing the resources at the Western Beef Development Centre's Termuende Research Ranch, her project was evaluating the use of DDGS as a supplement for beef cows consuming low quality forages in the fall and winter. She is now a nutritionist at Coop Feeds in Saskatoon.

  Dr. Dale Douma graduated in 1999 with BSc in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba. He then completed his DVM from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in 2003. Dale practiced in eastern Manitoba prior to returning to the U of S to work on his Ph.D, which he completed in 2010, under the supervision of Dr. John Campbell. His thesis focused on Johne's disease in the Canadian cow-calf industry studying the distribution of the disease as well as the environmental and management factors association with it.


Some Past Graduate Students

Former graduate students are now managing the Borderline Feeders (a new SK feedlot), are senior nutritionists in the beef industry (5), involved in government extension in MB, SK, AB (5). Other graduate students are influencing beef research at other institutions such as McGill, University of California-Davis, University of Zimbabwe, Public Health Agency of Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Food, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Agriculture, Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food.


Teresa Cook grew up in Prince George, BC and pursued many agricultural opportunities in the region. She graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor's degree majoring in Animal Science in 2001. She graduated from Western College of Veterinary Medicine is 2005 and obtained a certificate from the Summer Dairy Institute at Cornell. She practiced in rural British Columbia for 2 years in mixed animal practice. She returned to the WCVM to pursue a Master's in Epidemiology, studying antimicrobial resistance in E. coli and Mannheimia in feedlot cattle. She has a veterinary practice in Saskatoon.

Bob Schimpf took many of the photographs of cattle used in various genetics studies during his M.Sc. He now works in a RCMP Forensics Lab in Edmonton.


Carolyn Fitzsimmons found a mutation in the leptin gene during her M.Sc. which has been studied further by others in the genetics group. She completed her PhD in Sweden and a post-doctoral fellowship in Australia. As of January 2009 she is a Research Scientist with AgCanada on the University of Alberta campus.

Leigh Marquess did his M.Sc. mapping polled. He has taken the leptin studies to the commercialization phase and now owns and operates Quantum Genetics, Inc. in Saskatoon.


 

Logan Williams is a ruminant nutritionist with Federated Cooperative Limited in Saskatoon.

Kim Reddick, now Doig, is a research technician at VIDO conducting research on immune modulation in swine and poultry. Her thesis resulted in a published one paper "No association between the neurotensin (NTS) gene and production traits in beef cattle". 2007 Animal Genetics. 38:428.


Lee-Anne Walter was raised on a grain and cattle operation near Lampman, SK. She received her BSA in animal science from the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan in the spring of 2007. After taking the summer off to help with calving as well as to backpack across Europe she started her M.Sc. in ruminant nutrition under the supervision of Dr. John McKinnon. Her project aims to compare wheat DDGS (dried distillers' grains with solubles) to corn DDGS in feedlot cattle diets. Lee-Anne has received a scholarship from the Canadian Wheat Board to complete this project. Lee-Anne accepted a position with Intevet, based in Calgary in January 2010.  

Kim McLean grew up on a farm in Arcola, a small town in South East Saskatchewan. In 2004 she obtained a BSA from the University of Saskatchewan. After taking a six month break to work for Bayer Cropscience, Kim returned to start her M.Sc. with Dr. Sheila Schmutz in January of 2005. The main focus of Kim's research has been coat color genes and their effect on carcass and production traits in beef cattle. Kim defended in December 2009. She is currently working for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture as a Beef Specialist.

 

Sushama Arya is from northern India. She did her bachelor's degree in Veterinary and Animal Science from Rajasthan Agricultural University, India, in 2006. and her M.Sc. with Dr. John McKinnon, completing in 2010 at the University of Saskatchewan. She lookied at the effects of dietary inclusion level of a Low Lignin Hull, High Oil Oat on the performance and carcass characteristics of feedlot cattle.

Charlotte Ward grew up on a farm near Springside in East-Central Saskatchewan. She received her BSA in Rangelands Resources from the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan in the spring of 2005. She completed her M.Sc. under the supervision of Dr. Bart Lardner. her project evaluated the performance and economic value of new forage varieties for grazing in Saskatchewan.

Breeanna Kelln grew up on a farm near Duval, Saskatchewan. She received her B.S.A in Animal Science from the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan in the fall of 2005. She completed her M.Sc under the supervision of Dr. Bart Lardner. Her research is evaluated Winter Feeding Systems for Beef Cattle. The project studied the effects of beef cow winter feeding systems on cow performance and reproductive efficiency, soil nutrient cycling and compaction, subsequent crop yield, as well as the economic feasibility of each system.

Chelsey Carruthers, now Siemens, grew up on a farm near Biggar, Saskatchewan. She completed her BSA in Animal Science at the University of Saskatchewan in the spring of 2007 and her M.Sc. in November 2009. She evaluated genetic diversity in Angus cattle under Dr. Sheila Schmutz, using genes under direct and/or indirect selection and microsatellites. She worked as a Livestock Specialist for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture in Watrous for two years and now works for Monsanto.

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