Research

Research in the VCLS Department is cutting-edge, diverse and driven by scientific interests of individual faculty members. Currently, research programs are associated with three main areas: 

Animal Health and Disease

Basic and translational research addresses infectious and non-infectious diseases that affect companion animals and create an economic burden on large animals in the state and beyond. With the idea of One Health in mind, the well-being of humans is linked with the well-being of animals and the soundness of the environment. Encroachment on wild ecosystems, infectious disease control, public health, food security, and nutrition are facets of interconnected and interdisciplinary research for which veterinary schools are particularly well suited. Dairy cow mastitis and post-parturition ketosis are examples of ongoing research topics in the CVM, as well as pathogenic E. coli research and antiviral research in collaboration with the USU Institute for Antiviral Research.

Reproduction and Theriogenology

Research in this area is focused on genetic and epigenetic aspects of successful gamete maturation, fertilization, and conceptus development as components of major importance to animal production and reproductive health in general. Current projects investigating aspects of reproduction include elucidating the impact of environmental and dietary factors on the genetic integrity of gametes and intergenerational inheritance of epigenetic marks, determining immunological factors involved in successful implantation and sustained pregnancy, and suppression of estrous behavior in mares. 

Students in a Lab

Mechanisms of Aging

Molecular mechanisms underlying the aging process are relevant for companion animal health and care, orthopedic and neurological disease, and nutrition and metabolic health. Understanding the impact of the ovarian microenvironment on health disparities in post-reproductive female mammals is one of the current goals. Other current aims include unraveling physiological and metabolic principles underlying the aging process, particularly in reproductive aging, as well as mechanisms of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.