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Lee-Anne Huber


Position/Title: Assistant Professor
email: huberl@uoguelph.ca
Phone: (519) 824-4120 ext. 53347
Office: ANNU 225


 

Lee-Anne Huber was raised on a mixed farm of beef cattle and pigs and attended the University of Guelph with the intention of becoming a large animal veterinarian. She always enjoyed working with pigs and during her bachelor’s degree, discovered the world of swine nutrition research. Her passion for research led her to pursue swine research through graduate degrees and a post-doctoral fellowship in biomedical science at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

 

Academic History

  • B.Sc. Animal Biology, University of Guelph (2010)
  • M.Sc. Swine Nutrition, University of Guelph (2012)
  • Ph.D. Swine Nutrition & Physiology, University of Guelph (2016)

 

Affiliations and Partnerships 

  • Ontario Pork 
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs 
  • University of Toronto, SickKids Hospital 

 

Research Impact 

Lee-Anne's master’s research examined the dynamics of nutrient retention in entire male pigs after immunocastration. Her research found that immunocastration of entire male pigs is an effective way to remove boar taint from pork and improve nutrient utilization efficiency for net protein gain. Lee-Anne’s PhD research examined dietary amino acid utilization for milk protein production in lactating sows. She found that improving the amino acid balance of diets fed to lactating sows improves amino acid utilization for milk protein production. Crystalline amino acids allow for the formulation of low crude protein diets with improved amino acid balance.  For her post-doctoral research she took a step back from agricultural research, and focused on the origins of adult human disease in infants using a mini-pig model. 

 

Current Research Projects 

 

Reducing our reliance on in-feed antimicrobials 

Lee-Anne is evaluating new feed ingredients that have functional compounds to reduce the use of antibiotics in animal feed. Examples of these ingredients include insect meals and Omega-3 fatty acids. Her research is looking at insects that offer bioactive compounds and provide metabolic protective affects for piglets. The exoskeleton of the insect also contains nutrients that improve the gut micro flora of pigs. She is also looking at Omega-3 fatty acids to improve immune system robustness of the newly weaned pig. This project is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. 

Examining amino acid utilization in reproductive sows

The amino acid methionine is used for protein synthesis, which makes muscle proteins, milk proteins or is used to grow piglets inside the sow. Methionine is also very important for other functions, such as creatine synthesis. If a gestating sow is not receiving enough methionine for both protein synthesis and its other purposes, her piglets are at risk for having poor performance or developing a metabolic disease. This research will try to quantify amino acid requirements based off of measuring protein and non-protein requirements to eventually formulate diets more precisely. This project is funded by Ontario Pork.  

Using the pig as a model for human nutrition research 

Lee-Anne is working with the University of Toronto and SickKids hospital researchers to use piglets as a model for testing an artificial placenta designed to rescue extremely premature human infants who cannot survive out of a fluid environment. They will place the piglets, early in their gestation, in the artificial placenta and monitor the piglet through birth up to post-puberty to see if their metabolism is influenced. Premature human infants are known to develop metabolic diseases as they grow up; the researchers are trying to determine if these new methods will be able to prevent infants from developing metabolic diseases later in life. 

 

Graduate Student Information 

Lee-Anne knows that research would not be possible without the work of graduate students and believes they are the engines that run the lab. Lee-Anne recognizes that each student has their own needs in an advisor and mentor, and she likes to determine what each individual student’s working style is to be able to provide the required guidance. She meets with her students each week to discuss progress to ensure her students don’t get stuck on problems that she can help them resolve. She is also not opposed to rolling up her sleeves and going out to the barn to help with the dirty work.

 

Featured Publications

  • Huber, L., Hooda, S., Fisher-Heffernan, R. E., Karrow, N. A., & Lange, C. F. 2018. Effect of reducing the ratio of omega-6-to-omega-3 fatty acids in diets of low protein quality on nursery pig growth performance and immune response. Journal of Animal Science. doi:10.1093/jas/sky296
  • Huber, L., Rudar, M., Trottier, N. L., Cant, J. P., & Lange, C. F. (2018). Whole-body nitrogen utilization and tissue protein and casein synthesis in lactating primiparous sows fed low- and high-protein diets1. Journal of Animal Science,96(6), 2380-2391. doi:10.1093/jas/sky047
  • Huber, L., C. F. M. de Lange, C. Ernst, U. Krogh, and N. L. Trottier. 2016. Impact of improving dietary amino acid balance for lactating sows on efficiency of dietary amino acid utilization and transcript abundance of genes encoding lysine transporters in mammary tissue. J. Anim. Sci. 94:1-12.
  • Huber, L., C. F. M. de Lange, U. Krogh, D. Chamberlin, and N. L. Trottier. 2015. Impact of feeding reduced crude protein diets to lactating sows on nitrogen utilization. J. Anim. Sci. 93: 5254-5264.
  • Huber, L., E. J. Squires, and C. F. M. de Lange. 2013. Dynamics of nitrogen retention in entire male pigs immunized against gonadotropin-releasing hormone. J. Anim. Sci. 91:4817-4825.