Iowa State University Department of Animal Science Welcomes Karl Kerns

September 2, 2020

Karl KernsKarl Kerns of Clearfield, Iowa, is the most recent addition to the faculty in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University. Kerns, a former ISU animal science student, will teach anatomy and physiology courses and conduct research in reproduction.

“Our goal is to provide a world-class education to equip our students to reach their professional goals as leaders in the animal agriculture industry,” said Dr. Dan Thomson, Department of Animal Science chair. “Karl’s energy and innovative mind will provide so much for our students.”

During his time as an undergraduate at Iowa State, Kerns was an undergraduate research assistant in the molecular reproductive physiology lab and also a reproductive physiology lab intern with the USDA-ARS. “Iowa State’s Department of Animal Science has a long tradition of supporting its students and stakeholders. This is exactly the community I want to be a part of to help advance Iowa,” said Kerns. “The research corridor that is actively being developed between Ames and Des Moines is also attractive because we need to increase the presence of new, cutting edge businesses servicing the livestock sector to help us actively translate high impact research from ISU to the stakeholders. Great research findings have little to no value if we do not take them to the stakeholder.”

Kerns has an abundance of experience in the animal agriculture industry from both Iowa State and the University of Missouri-Columbia where he earned his Ph.D. in animal sciences and reproductive physiology. He also brings ten years of experience working for International Boar Semen in Eldora, Iowa, and is a co-founder of AndroLabb.

“In this country there is a severe shortage of reproductive physiologists with a focus on the male animal even though the greatest genetic impact in the pork and beef industries are made through the male gamete. The research I am working on helps improve sire reproductive performance in the field and increase overall pounds marketed per sow or cow per year,” Kerns explained.

Jason Ross, Department of Animal Science Lloyd Anderson Endowed Professor in Physiology and Director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center, worked with Kerns when he was an undergraduate student and has followed his research since then. “Karl is an exceptional addition to the team at Iowa State. Not only does he have a strong understanding of animal agriculture and the stakeholders that our department serves, he is also a gifted teacher who can bring value to our classrooms.”

The hiring of Kerns will further strengthen the animal science department’s commitment and contributions to the swine industry in the state. “We are thankful to welcome Karl to our faculty,” said Dr. Thomson. “We are confident that he will help develop a world class swine research and teaching program that will attract international attention.”

Kerns is very excited about his return. “Getting to come back to the institution that poured so much into me is an honor,” said Kerns.