Research Focus

Student in labResearch at the Farm

Many researchers have used and continue to use the facilities. Dr. Nick Gabler, Dr. Ken Stalder, Dr. John Patience, Dr. Mark Honeyman, Dr. Jason Ross and Dr. Brian Kerr are a few of the ISU researchers involved in projects taking place at the Swine Nutrition Farm.

Projects on the farm are:

  • Efficacy of antibiotic alternatives in treatment of post weaning diarrhea in pigs
  • Obesity study with Ossabaw pigs
  • Energy utilization of glycerin in weanling swine
  • Energy utilization of glycerin in growing-finishing swine
  • Improved dietary fiber digestion in the large intestine of swine through selection of "Fiber-biotics"
  • Impact of dietary nitrogen, sulfur and cellulose levels on swine manure composition and odor emission
  • Improvement of phosphorus digestibility of microbial phytase
  • Manure composition - Stability and validation
  • Blood collection from clinically healthy growing pigs for serum, plasma, and the isolation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells
  • Evaluation of dietary butyrate on growth performance and response to inflammatory stimuli in weanling pigs
  • Evaluation of dietary fiber sources as growth promotants in weanling pigs
  • Evaluation of the effects of lowering dietary crude protein on serum biomarkers of body composition and gene expression in muscle and adipose tissue in finishing swine
  • Mineral balances of diverse swine genetic sources as affected by dietary phosphorus levels
  • Effect of genetics and nutrition on bone metabolism
  • Evaluation of sustained release formulations of Vitamin D for use in animal and human nutrition
  • Evaluation of salmon protein concentrate on growth performance of weanling pigs
  • Evaluation of field peas as a protein source for growing finishing swine
  • Oxidized biomarkers in blood of pigs
  • Role of 1.3 butanediol as a bioactive compound for enhancing sow and neonatal pig productivity

Dr. John Patience

  • Energy is the most expensive component of the pig’s diet, so John’s research focuses on how to most economically supply that energy to the pig, and also to understand how the pig will utilize that energy, to produce the best performance, a high quality carcass while minimizing the impact on the environment and maximizing net income. With the recent changes in regulations surrounding the use of antibiotics in swine diets, John is also investigating ways to formulate diets that help the pig resist disease. Finally, John studies the use of enzymes in swine diets, to improve diet utilization, to improve health and performance and to minimize the environmental impact of pork production.

Amanda Chipman, Extension Program Specialist

  • Ms. Chipman coordinated an industry wide National Pork Board funded collaborative sow pelvic organ prolapse project. The main objective of the project was to identify causative factors for pelvic organ prolapse with future hopes of developing mitigation strategies for the industry. Currently, she also coordinates a five year multi-university project striving to increase whole herd survivability in the US swine herd.

Dr. Jack Dekkers

  • Dr. Dekkers lab studies the genetics of feed efficiency and disease resistance. They also focus on design and optimization of breeding strategies, including use of genomics.

Dr. Chris Tuggle

  • Dr. Tuggle received a PhD (1986) and completed postdoctoral training in developmental genetics (1987-1991). Dr. Tuggle joined Iowa State University in 1991 as an Assistant Professor, achieving the rank of Professor in 2001. His research projects include functional genomics and bioinformatics of the pig genome, especially in understanding control of feed efficiency and the immune response. A new project is characterizing and exploiting a serendipitous mutation in the Iowa State University Yorkshire herd that causes severe combined immune deficiency as a biomedical model.

Dr. Nick Serao

  • Dr. Serao's research is focused on Quantitative Genetics and Genomics of Complex Traits, such as disease/stress response and fertility in livestock animals; QTL Mapping; Genomic Prediction/Selection; Gene Expression analysis; Statistical Methods for Genomic Analyses; Big Data; Modeling of immune response, and infectious diseases; Principles of Experimentation.

Dr. Ken Stalder

  • Dr. Stalder's lab conducts research on applied swine genetics and swine management topics that can have an immediate and direct impact on pork producers.  His research emphasis on sow longevity / sow productive lifetime  has published more on this topic than any other research group in the world. He also has interests in meat quality and economic modeling for genetic improvement purposes. Dr. Stalder's entire research program ultimately tries to improve producer profitability either by reducing their costs or improving income.