College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Animal & Avian Sciences

Research Grants Awarded

NIFA Grant

Dr. Li Ma was recently awarded a USDA-NIFA grant entitled “Sequence-Based Big Data Genomic Discovery and Application to Improve Dairy Fertility” for $350,000 over 3 years.

For the past 50 years, dairy production continued to increase but fertility experienced severe declines. The overall goal of this research is to discover causal/tightly linked genetic variants and apply these genomic discoveries to improve dairy fertility. The expect outcomes include an increase in dairy reproductive performance, a breakthrough understanding in the genetic mechanism of dairy fertility and related traits, and a decreased cost in genomic evaluation of fertility traits.

MAES Grants

 
 

Six ANSC faculty were awarded funding from the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) Competitive Grant Program for 2016-2017.  

Dr. Amy Burk received $21,000 for her proposal entitled, “Get it under cover! Restoring soil health in high use areas of farms with traffic-tolerant grasses.” Dr. Rachel Dennis received $29,900 to study “Animal health and production and animal product.” Dr. Tom Porter received $30,000 for his proposal entitled, “Identification of mechanisms and gene networks associated with differences in egg production in turkey hens.” Dr. Chad Stahl was awarded $30,000 to fund his proposal entitled, “Improving efficiency of meat production with Tributyrin.” Dr. Bhanu Telugu received $30,000 for his proposal entitled, “Genome editing to create germ cell deficient livestock.” Dr. Zhengguo Xiao was awarded $30,000 for his proposal entitled, “Exosomes in the immune regulation induced by Ostertagia Ostertagi in cattle.”

NIFA Grant

 

Associate Professor Zhengguo Xiao was recently awarded a NIFA (USDA) grant entitled “Mucosal Immune Response to Ostertagia ostertagi in Cattle” for $499,999 over 3 years.

The goal of this investigation is to understand the mucosal immune response of cattle to nematode O. Ostertagia. This parasite invades cattle through stomach mucosa. The host (cattle) launches immune reaction against these invaders, and the parasites counterattack the immune reaction to facilitate their survival in cattle. Dr. Xiao’s and his research group is trying to understand how the host and parasites interact with each other locally and systemically in cattle, and the knowledge generated from this project could be useful for future vaccine development.

Tier 1 Seed Grant

 

Dr. Debabrata Biswas has been awarded a $50,000 Tier 1 Seed Grant from the Division of Research. The award is meant to help faculty show proof of concept and pursue sponsored research. 

Dr. Biswas will study genetic engineering of the probiotic organism Lactobacillis casei to produce more antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory conjugated linoleic acids. He will examine whether this raises the concentration of beneficial microbes in the gut and improves host health, aiming to eventually use the strain against dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

NIH/NIAID Grant

 
 

Dr. Iqbal Hamza received a NIH/NIAID funded Phase I STTR grant for $702,315 for two years. Dr. Hamza is the PI of the STTR grant and was submitted through his start-up company Rakta Therapeutics, Inc and in collaboration with UM Baltimore. 

The grant will aid in developing highly potent and selective drugs to block heme transporters in parasites and cure parasitic infections, a vast and untapped commercialization potential. The STTR grant research mechanism fits with President Loh’s vision for accelerating the pace of innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology transfer and commercialization at UMD. The STTR grant will complement Dr. Hamza’s research program which is currently funded by several NIH grants

MAES Grant

 

Drs. Andrew Schiffmacher, Lisa Taneyhill, and Carol Keefer have received a $30,000 Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) grant. The grant is for their research proposal entitled “Investigating the roles of SNAIL transcription factors during bovine trophectoderm lineage segregation.”

NIFA Grant

 

Drs. Carol Keefer and Brian Bequette were awarded a $452,000 grant by NIFA (USDA) for a project entitled “Fluxomic Evaluation of Bovine Embryo Nutrient Utilization and Viability”. Dr. Ganesh Sriram (Department of Chemical and BioMolecular Engineering) will take over the duties of Dr. Bequette to help in fulfilling the scientific aims of this project.

American Cancer Society Grant

 Dr. Lisa Taneyhill

Dr. Lisa Taneyhill was awarded a $792,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to study how epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions are regulated in neural crest cells. The objectives of the grant are to investigate whether neural crest cells employ epigenetic modifications to regulate proteases whose functions are key for EMT and how sequential processing of cadherins by proteases allows for coordinated regulation and subsequent loss of cadherins during EMT.

 

 

1.9 Million in NIDCR/NIH Grant Funding

 Dr. Lisa Taneyhill

Dr. Lisa Taneyhill has been awarded a $1.9 million from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, NIH (NIDCR/NIH) for her R01 grant proposal entitled, “Neural crest and placode cell interactions during cranial gangliogenesis.” 

In this proposal, Dr. Taneyhill and her colleagues aim to elucidate how two different cell types migrate, adhere, and coalesce together in the developing chick embryo to form the cranial ganglia, which are responsible for integrating sensory information and controlling cell movements. These processes are mediated by specific junctional complexes, which serve as the “glue” to hold cells together and allow for cell-cell communication. Importantly, such intercellular interactions are critical throughout embryonic and adult development to form new tissues and organs, with aberrations resulting in animal and human diseases. The results of this research will form a framework for understanding cellular behavior during the formation of other tissues comprising several cell types and will have direct translational applications to therapies based on tissue growth or organ repair and/or regeneration.

Mini Grant for Reproductive Research

 Dr. Curry Woods

Dr. Curry Woods was awarded $20,000 by NIFA-USDA for his research: “Teleost spermatozoal transriptomes: requisite foundation for functional genomics, sperm quality and male fertility.” This grant will allow Dr. Woods to sequence and evaluate sperm transcriptome profiles from male striped bass with observed differences in fertilization rate.  This research will be used to increase the reproductive efficacy of captive brood stocks, important to the aquaculture industry, by identification of superior males prior to spawning.

$1.6 Million NIH-NIFA Grant Funding

 Dr. Bhanu Telugu

Dr. Bhanu Telugu has been awarded a $1.6 million from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grants Program. This is a NIH-NIFA Dual purpose with Dual benefits (R01) grant entitled “Generation of Zoonotic Influenza Resistant Recombinant Pigs via Site-directed Technology.” 

2014 Northeast SARE Graduate Student Grant

 Dr. Debabrata Biswas and Serajus Salaheen

Serajus Salaheen, graduate student in Dr. Debabrata Biswas’s lab, was awarded 2014 Northeast SARE Graduate Student grant in the amount of $14,983 for his research proposal entitled, “Reduction of environmental risks and improving livestock productivity in Mixed Crop- Livestock Systems with cheap byproducts of berry fruits.” Northeast SARE is part of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Seed Grant for Reproductive Research

 Dr. Carol Keefer

A joint review panel of the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institute awarded Dr. Carol Keefer a grant of $40,000 for her work in trying to save endangered species. Her proposal entitled “Alternate Approaches to Produce Pluripotent Stem Cells for Conservation Biology Applications,” goes directly to the source by attempting to save genetic diversity by reprograming cells to act as reproductive cells. Of the award money, $22,500 will come from the Smithsonian, while the university will provide $17,500.

 

Morris Animal Foundation Grant

 Dr. Ed Orlando

Dr. Ed Orlando was awarded a grant from the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) for $124,968 for the three year period of September 2014 – August 2017.  MAF is the largest nonprofit foundation dedicated to funding research studies to protect, treat and cure animals.  Dr. Orlando’s proposal is entitled, “Environmental gestagen exposure effects on wildlife: reproductive toxicity and potential remediation.”

2014 USGS/NIWR National Competitive Grant Program Nominee

 Dr. Ed Orlando
On July 14, 2014, Dr. Ed Orlando’s grant proposal entitled "Environmental Concentrations and Exposure Effects of Environmental Gestagens on a Sentinel Teleost Fish (2014MD321G)” has been recommended for funding by the 2014 U.S. Geological Survey/National Institutes For Water Resources (USGS/NIWR) National Competitive Grant Program. The selection panel recommended that the proposal be funded at the requested level of over $238,000.

 

ADVANCE Interdisciplinary and Engaged Research Seed Grant

 Dr. Kasey Moyes
The seed grant proposal by Dr. Kasey Moyes, along with Co­PIs Dr. Xiaoping Zhu of the Veterinary Medicine Program, Dr. Ted Elssasser of USDA, Beltsville and Dr. Brian Bequette has been approved for funding from the ADVANCE Interdisciplinary and Engaged Research seed grant program. It is entitled: "Nutrient Supply and Stage of Lactation: Effects on Metabolism and Inflammatory Response of Bovine Blood Neutrophils" and will be funded for $20,000. Due to the critical importance of blood PMN for resolution of mastitis and the possible larger susceptibility to mastitis for cows in early lactation, results of this project may lead to improvements in animal health and well­being of dairy cows.

MAES/UME Integrative Research and Extension Grant

 Dr. Kasey Moyes
Dr. Kasey Moyes was awarded a MAES/UME Integrative Research and Extension Grant in the amount of $30,500 for her grant proposal, "Estimating and quantifying the economic impacts, production outcomes and lifestyle changes for small-to-medium sized dairy farms regarding the transition from conventional to automatic milking systems in the Mid-Atlantic region."

MAES/UME Funding

 Dr. Debabrata Biswas
Dr. Debabrata Biswas received funding in the amount of $40,000 from MAES/UME for his proposal titled: "Ecological prevalence of major foodborne bacterial pathogens in Mixed Crop-Livestock in Maryland and control with feed supplement."

Tier 1 Seed Grant

 Dr. Lisa Taneyhill
Dr. Lisa Taneyhill was awarded a $50,000 Tier 1 seed grant from the University for her proposal, "Alpha-n-catenin function in mammalian neural crest cell development." She also received the Summer Research and Scholarship Award (RASA) for Summer 2014 from the Graduate School.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant

 Dr. Tom Porter
Dr. Tom Porter received a grant of $500,000 on January 1, 2014, from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for his project titled "Glucocorticoid induction of endogenous growth hormone (GH) in chicken embryos." This research project in Dr. Porter's laboratory has been funded for 20 years by grants from the USDA. Growth in chickens is controlled in part by the chicken's production of its own hormones, including GH which is secreted from the chicken's pituitary gland. The overall hypothesis of this research is that chicken growth can be increased by manipulating the chicken's production of its own GH. The current proposal aims to define the mechanisms regulating GH production. Identification of these mechanisms will not only increase our understanding of the regulation of this hormone that is essential to normal growth, it will also lead to new information that can be used in breeding programs to produce more efficient chickens and more food for the world's population.

USDA-Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center Grant

 Dr. Curry Woods
Dr. Curry Woods is a co-principle investigator with Dr. David Berlinsky, University of New Hampshire, Department of Biology, on a recently awarded $119,000 USDA-Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center Grant. The grant has been awarded and research is scheduled to begin at the Department of Animal and Avian Science’s UM-Crane Aquaculture Facility later this fall. The research aims to determine if striped bass, through a comprehensive genetic evaluation of the range of geographic strains, are tolerant of seawater as juveniles and a potential candidate for marine aquaculture. One of the important goals of this research will be to provide identified salinity-tolerant striped bass brood stock to the industry. Dr. Woods’ lab will employee and train several undergraduate students to assist in the evaluation of phenotypes from six different geographic strains in each of the first two years of the project to determine which genotypes are more favorable for use in ocean aquaculture.

UMD-SI Seed Grant

 Dr. Carol Keefer and Halli Sigal
In June, 2013 a joint review panel of University of Maryland (UMD) faculty and Smithsonian Institution (SI) staff awarded a UMD-SI Seed Grant to Dr. Carol Keefer, Halli Sigal, and Dr. Adrienne Crosier for their proposal entitled "Elucidating spermatozoal energy metabolism and metabolic dysfunction in felids and teratospermic species." The UMD-SI Seed Grant is for the amount of $35,830 which is split between the two institutions. Funding, which is for one year, started in August, 2013.

USDA-NIFA Grant

 Dr. Brian Bequette
Dr. Brian Bequette is a co-principle investigator with Dr. Nathalie Trottier, Michigan State University Department of Animal Sciences, on a recently awarded $500,000 USDA-NIFA grant. The funding will begin in January 2014 with the University of Maryland portion amounting to over $66,000. The research aims to determine the impact of dietary amino acid balance in lactating sows on heat production, lysine utilization and whole body N metabolism, and subsequent piglet growth performance. The overall goal of the research is to improve nutritional performance of lactating sows and their nursing pigs under heat stress conditions. Dr. Bequette will employ novel stable isotope approaches in the lactating sows to determine the influence of dietary amino acid balance on whole body lysine utilization for milk protein and muscle synthesis, muscle protein turnover and amino acid catabolism.

UMD-UM Seed Grant

 Dr. Bhanu Telugu
On June 12, 2013, Dr. Bhanu Telugu and Dr. Loren Thompson, UMB, School of Medicine, were awarded a $75,000 UMD-UM Seed Grant for their proposal titled, "Development of a Novel Animal Model for Human Preeclampsia." There were 66 proposals submitted to the competition and only 7 were funded. 

NRSA F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship

 Dr. Andrew Schiffmacher 
Postdoctoral research associate Dr. Andrew Schiffmacher was awarded the prestigious NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA F32 postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Taneyhill and co-sponsor Dr. Iqbal Hamza. His over $164,000 fellowship titled, "Proteolysis of Cadherins in Cranial Neural Crest" will be funded for 3 years by the NIH-National Institute for Dental & Craniofacial Research.

Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship

 Dr. Anjali Nandal
Dr. Anjali Nandala postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Bhanu Telugu's laboratory, has been awarded a 2-year, $110,000 postdoctoral fellowship from the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF.) Dr. Nandal’s project aims at directed differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells into insulin producing beta-precursor cells for diabetes therapies. Remarkably, Dr. Nandal put together the grant proposal within the first month of joining the Telugu laboratory.

2013 Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship

Halli Sigal and Ankita Shah
Ankita Shah, graduate student in Dr. Lisa Taneyhill's lab and Halli Sigal, graduate student in Dr. Carol Keefer's lab, have each been awarded a Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship for Summer 2013. The Fellowship carries a $5,000 stipend from the Graduate School and the Department. It is intended to provide support to doctoral students at “mid-career” and enable them to devote a summer of focused work to prepare for or complete a benchmark in their program’s requirements.

2013-2014 Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship

Ashley Franklin
Ashley Franklin, graduate student in Dr. Tom Porter's lab has been awarded an Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship for 2013-2014. These one-semester awards provide support to outstanding doctoral students who are in the final stages of writing their dissertation. Wylie Dissertation Fellowships carry a stipend of $10,000 plus candidacy tuition remission and $800 toward the cost of health insurance. The Graduate School awards only 40 Wylie Dissertation Fellowships per year.

2012 Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship

Lindsey Vansandt

Lindsey Vansandt, DVM and graduate student in Dr. Carol Keefer's laboratory has been awarded a Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship for summer 2012 by the Graduate School. This Fellowship carries a stipend of $5,000 and is intended to enable doctoral students to devote a summer of focused work to their program’s requirements and help them take a significant step forward in their studies.

 

National Institute of Health (NIH) Grant

Dr. Iqbal Hamza

The NIH awarded an administrative supplement of $194,377 to Dr. Iqbal Hamza for his NIDDK R01 grant titled "The Biological Role of Heme in Nutrition" to purchase a COPAS BIOSORT flow cytometer. The COPAS (Complex Object Parametric Analyzer and Sorter) is a continuous flow system sorter capable of analyzing small and large quantities of objects from 20-200 microns in diameter. The offices of the Vice President of Research, Dean of AGNR, and the Chairs of ANSC and PLSA provided an additional $97,188. No such instrument currently exists on campus.

5 Year Renewal of the NIH Grant

 Dr. Iqbal Hamza

Dr. Iqbal Hamza was awarded a 5 year renewal of his NIH grant titled "The Biological Role of Heme in Nutrition" for $1,931,357. His research program is supported by two additional NIH R01 and NIH R21 grants.

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