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Originally from West Allis, Wisconsin in the USA, I received a BS-Agriculture with a chemistry minor from the University of Wisconsin--River Falls. I then studied ruminant nutrition at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln where I was awarded an MS and PhD. From there, I was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr Doug Burrin at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. At Baylor I used the newborn pig model to examine the influence of growth hormone and diet on circulating hormones and protein synthesis in the neonate. In 1996, I took up a postdoctoral position in Aberdeen, Scotland working at the University of Aberdeen and the Rowett Research Institute with Dr Gerald Lobley. While there, I used stable isotopes to study amino acid kinetics and protein metabolism in sheep.
I was hired as a Research Officer in the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health in 2000. I moved to the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, and am now with the Monogastric Research Centre in the School of Agriculture and Environment. Since coming to Massey, I’ve explored nutrient utilisation by animals at various levels, from effects of feed and processing, to metabolism of nutrients within the body. I’ve collaborated with other scientists in many species, including seals, dogs, pigs, chickens, crocodiles, dairy cows, and domestic cats.
My personal area of research uses stable isotopes to examine the interaction between energy and protein metabolism in cats. Evolutionary pressures on the domestic cat from a diet high in animal tissue resulted in changes to their metabolism to include a number of metabolic peculiarities, such as a greater protein requirement. It is not actually protein that’s required, but the amino acids that make up protein. In all animals, amino acids are used primarily to make body protein (e.g., tissues and muscle), but some are also used to make glucose that is required to supply energy throughout the body, especially the brain. In the wild, cats would be reliant on glucose being formed from amino acids, thus their requirement for protein is high. To complicate matters, pet cats are often fed a diet that bears little resemblance to what it would have hunted in the wild. There has been very little research on nutrition and metabolism in cats.
I hold a BS-Agriculture from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and MS and PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I came to Massey in 2000 after postdocs in the US and Scotland. My expertise is in the effects of feed form and diet composition on nutrient digestion and metabolism. My research explores topics ranging from effect of pelleting on nutrient use and gut development in poultry; impact of gelling agent on feed digestibility in farmed saltwater crocodiles in Papua New Guinea; influence of organic and conventional pasture on milk composition in cows; and amino acid metabolism in domestic cats.
Animal Nutrition and Physiology
Health and Well-being
Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000): Animal Growth and Development (070202): Animal Management (070203): Animal Nutrition (070204):
Animal Physiology - Systems (060603):
Animal Production (070200):
Biochemistry and Cell Biology (060100): Biological Sciences (060000): Comparative Physiology (060604): Physiology (060600)
Protein Metabolism, Macronutrient Metabolism, Stable isotope methodology, Feed processing, companion animals, digestive physiology