What we’re working on now.
With the global demand for poultry and other foods increasing rapidly, science and technology certainly will play a significant role in meeting this demand. Today’s challenges require our best ideas and the best research to generate new knowledge needed to ensure a healthy and sustainable food system. Here is a sampling of research projects in our department. These projects are also profiled in our 2014 Annual Report.
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
Avery Smith began her time at Auburn University studying equine sciences in the Department of Animal Science. While interested in the Pre-Veterinary track, Avery’s interest in equine health began an unexpected journey to Food Science.
While pursuing her degree, Avery saw a flaw in animal nutrition for equine. Finding a low-sugar feed available for equine is a major challenge in caring for their optimal health.
“I think most students who want to find answers to feed questions switch to the nutrition track,” she says, “but I heard about Food Science and thought that might provide answers to feed questions.”
Choosing to double-major in both Equine Science and Food Science, Avery grew to appreciate the chemistry of food.
“Cooking was never ‘my thing’, like most students who get interested in food science,” Avery says. “But now I find cooking very interesting, because what drew me in to Food Science is understanding how food behaves on the molecular level.”
This summer, Avery is working alongside exchange students and graduate students under the direction of Assistant Professor, Amit Morey. Her time is spent on the farm, in the lab, and sometimes in the processing plant, working toward improving the quality of breast meat in chickens.
“Dr. Morey is very thorough, I am learning so much from him,” Avery says. “I love applying the principals I learned back in biochemistry and food chemistry classes. Those classes were so hard at the time, but looking back on what I’ve learned and using it in the lab is so rewarding.”
Avery’s advice to underclassmen is to seek out opportunities to connect with others and to find the activities that tie your interests together. Whether it’s joining a club, asking about research opportunities in your program, attending conferences in your field or working alongside graduate students in a lab.
“With my double-major, I’ve really been able to get involved in the Food Science club and do so much more outside of just going to class. I would tell every student to take advantage of opportunities like that!” She says.
Nutrient Utilization Research
In the US, nine billion broilers are produced annually. Feed cost represents 60 to 70% of the cost for producing broilers; therefore, feed costs have a large impact on the global competitiveness of the poultry industry.
Muscle Development Research
Learn about Dr. Starkey and her research group's goal in understanding basic molecular mechanisms controlling muscle development.
Dr. Huang's Food Safety Research
In addition to public health consequences, product contamination or adulteration can lead to product recalls, which can lead to decreased consumer confidence and loss of markets. Therefore, the food industry continues to look for effective food safety knowledge and practices.
Fibroid Tumor Research
Over 70% of women will develop uterine fibroid tumors at some point in their lives. Dr. Wallace Berry’s research has established the chicken as a valid system for studying reproductive tract fibroids...