Animal Science Welcomes Two New Faculty Members
Ike V. Iyioke
Says Karen Plaut, professor and chair of the Department of Animal Science, “I am excited to have Adam Lock joining our dairy nutrition faculty. He adds breadth to our program as he is focusing on the effects of bioactive fatty acids. This is an area that continues to grow with new ideas emerging on the role of these compounds on both the dairy cow and in human health.”
Plaut adds that Adam is able to explain to dairy farmers the role of fatty acids in the rumen and in the cows’ diet and how they impact milk production and composition. “Adam has the ability to talk to dieticians and other public health professionals about the role of dairy products in the diet.”
Lock’s specific focus is on dairy cow nutrition, formation of bioactive fatty acids in the rumen and their impact on animal production and human health. He has expertise in bioactive fatty acids; dairy cow nutrition; fatty acid digestion and metabolism; biohydrogenation; milk fat synthesis; human health; conjugated linoleic acids; trans fatty acids; breast cancer; atherosclerosis; inflammation, and lipoprotein metabolism.
“Michigan State University has a strong tradition of quality in agricultural research and extension and I am excited by the prospects and opportunities this position offers, which will enable me to be an integral part in shaping the future of the industry, through both research and technology transfer and in the teaching and development of the dairy producers and scientific leaders of the future,” he says.
Lock’s research relating to human nutrition and health has focused on the role of milk fat-derived bioactive fatty acids on human health, in particular trans fatty acids including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) isomers.
“This represents a hot topic in human nutrition,” he says, “and my collaborators and I have recently been successful in securing USDA-NRI and Dairy Management Inc. funding in this area, investigating the impact of in utero exposure to trans fatty acids on atherosclerosis risk in later life and the role of fetal uptake of CLA isomers on subsequent mammary gland development.”
He also thinks that his research efforts in trans fatty acids is highly relevant and timely given the fact that a high proportion of the current U.S. human population would have been exposed to sources of human fatty acids during their lifetime. He remarks that “results from this research may ultimately have significant implications for global public health and importantly will have immediate application by providing essential knowledge for use by government, nutritionists and health professionals in the development of policies and recommendations regarding the health implications of trans fatty acids.”
Lock relocates from University of Vermont where he has done research and taught since 2006. His professional experience started in 1995 with the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), Department of Animal Production, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania. In 1997 he enrolled in a graduate program in the Division of Agricultural Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK completing in 2001. For 2 years following that he served as a post-doctoral research associate in the same institution and another post-doctoral experience at the Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY between 2003 and 2006.
Lock has produced a litany of published research papers in peer-reviewed journals, popular press articles, reviews and abstracts as well as participated and presented at numerous professional conferences at national and international settings.
Lock has received several honors and awards and belongs to professional organizations including the American Nutrition Society, the American Dairy Science Association, the British Society of Animal Science and the International Dairy Federation.
Santiago Utsumi has joined the Department of Animal Science as an Assistant Professor. A grazing ecologist, he is stationed at the Kellogg Biological Station.
Utsumi’s areas of interest are in animal-plant interactions, grazing behavior of livestock, mechanisms of diet selection and forage intake, grazing systems and ruminant nutrition.
“My major goal for the upcoming years at KBS/MSU is to develop an integrative research, extension, and education program in grazing ecology and management specifically tailored to pasture-based dairy systems in Michigan,” Utsumi says.
Utsumi plans to use experimental and modeling approaches to address research questions at the animal, pasture, and whole farm system levels. He adds, “Outcomes from research efforts will be used to support the development of novel cost-effective and environmentally-sound grazing and farm management strategies directed at a more efficient use of natural resources and animal performance.”
Dr. Karen Plaut, Chair of the Department of Animal Science says, “We are excited about Santiago joining MSU as he brings to us an additional perspective on the relationships between plants and animals in grazing systems and expands the type of research MSU can do to help Michigan dairy farmers.”
Originally from Argentina, Utsumi received his doctoral degree from New Mexico State University in 2008 with the distinctive “Outstanding PhD Graduate” award. In addition, he has a specialization in plant and soil management from the College of Agriculture, University of Mar del Plata, Argentina.
His work experience includes having been a research assistant at INTA-UNMdP, Argentina from 2000 to 2004; a research assistant at the Department of Animal and Range Science, New Mexico State University, from 2005 to 2008; and as a postdoctoral research specialist at the same department until he moved to MSU in June.
He has also garnered extensive consulting and extension experience particularly from Argentina. This includes being a reviewer for the Argentine association of Animal Production and Range Ecology and Management Journals.
Utsumi has taught quantitative genetics at the Faculty of Agriculture, Universidad Católica Argentina and also at the Faculty of Veterinary, Universidad del Salvador, Argentina, from 1996 to 1999.
He has received many awards and scholarships including a research distinction award from the Argentine Association of Animal Production in 2002; the Noble T. Jones Scholarship, College of Agriculture and Home Economics, NMSU, 2006-2007; the Merit-Based Enhancement Fellowship Grant, Graduate School, NMSU 2006-2007; and the Joe D. Wallace Endowed Graduate Scholarship, Department of Animal and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture and Home Economics, NMSU, 2007-2008.
Fluent in English and Spanish, Utsumi has to his credit numerous academic publications in the form of journal articles, reviews, technical notes and abstracts. He is affiliated with professional organizations such as the Argentine Association of Animal Production and the Society for Range Management.
As he assumes his new position, part of Utsumi’s priorities are as he says, “to establish strong interactions with students, farmers, managers, and different components of the dairy industry in Michigan.”
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