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James Squires


Position/Title: Chair, Professor
email: jsquires@uoguelph.ca
Phone: (519) 824-4120 ext. 53928
Office: ANNU 146

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Meet Prof. Jim Squires (60 second OAC  video )

Jim’s broad research interests are in metabolism and functional genomics to improve the health and productivity of livestock, and to develop animal models for human metabolism, health and nutrition. His work is a combination of basic and applied studies. Jim has published almost 150 papers in referred journals, authored a textbook “Applied Animal Endocrinology” (now in its second edition), several book chapters and numerous abstracts and technical publications for industry audiences. Jim is currently Chair of the Dept. of Animal Biosciences. In the summer, he likes to return to his home in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Academic History

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • Ph.D., (Biochemistry), Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • M.Sc.,(Biochemistry), Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • B.Sc., (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Memorial University of Newfoundland

Affiliations and Partnerships

  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement
  • Canadian Dairy Network
  • Centre for the Genetic Improvement of Livestock, University of Guelph
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Organic Cluster

Research Impact

Jim’s research into boar taint has been aimed at eliminating the off-odour and off-flavour of pork produced from entire male pigs (boars). Male pigs are normally castrated to prevent boar taint, but several EU countries have banned the practice, and it also limits animal productivity (feed efficiency, growth performance, and meat quality). His work on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) has generated large (more than 1000 SNPs) marker panels for genetic selection of reduced boar taint in pigs. He has also developed SNP panels for reduced ketosis in dairy cattle. Ketosis is a widely occurring metabolic disease in dairy cattle, with significant economic costs.

Current Research Projects

Welfare friendly and economically beneficial alternatives to surgical castration of pigs  

Much progress has been made in understanding the metabolism and functional genomics of boar taint compounds. Jim continues to build on that knowledge to explore genome editing and genetic selection as a means of reducing production of boar taint steroids, without reducing the production of sex steroids. He is also working with collaborators to develop panels of genetic markers for other desirable traits, including improved disease resistance and increased productivity.  Funded by the Organic Cluster III, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Preventing ketosis in dairy cattle

This project is in collaboration with the Canadian Dairy Network and faculty in the U of G’s Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock. It aims to enhance resistance to ketosis through genomics. The research seeks to answer the question of why some cows develop the disease and others don’t.  Jim is compiling large genetic marker panels of SNPs, and developing and validating selection tools for incorporation into dairy breeding programs. Funded by the Canadian Dairy Network and NSERC Collaborative Research & Development grant.

Developing a pig model for human toxicology and metabolic disease studies

Jim has studied the similarities between pigs and humans in phase I and II metabolism and nuclear receptor function. He has worked on the development of a porcine hepatocyte model for toxicology and metabolic disease studies relevant to humans, and studied hemostasis and metabolic diseases in poultry. In his latest work, he again collaborated with Baylor Medical College to study the components of solutions used in parenteral nutrition. Jim’s lab measured the effects of phytosterols on the activity of FXR and the effect of vitamin E on PXR, using reporter assays they had established

Graduate Student Information

Jim welcomes prospective grad students based not only academic achievement, but also enthusiasm for research as part of their career plans. Undergraduate summer students are paired with graduate students for mentoring and supervisory experience. The lab group meets monthly to present their progress and discuss challenges. Jim’s door is always open to help troubleshoot problems and interpret results. Students have access to many training opportunities, some being cross-disciplinary, and others at other institutions. Jim has supervised 35 graduate students, four post docs and about 50 undergraduate research students.

Featured Publications

  • Kroezen, V. Schenkel, F, Miglior, F, Baes, C, & Squires, J. 2018. Candidate gene association analyses for ketosis-resistance in Holsteins. J. Dairy Science, 101, 5240-5249.
  • Laderoute, H, Bone, C, & Squires, J. 2018. The sulfoconjugation of androstenone and dehydroepiandrosterone by human and porcine sulfotransferase enzymes. Steroids, 136, 8-16.
  • Gray, M. & Squires, E. James. 2015. Investigation of the dominant positive effect of porcine farnesoid X receptor (FXR) splice variant 1. Gene, 560, 71-76.
  • Wiercinska, P., Lou, Y., & Squires, E. J. 2012. The roles of different porcine cytochrome P450 enzymes and cytochrome b5A in skatole metabolism. Animal, 6 (5), 834-845.
  • Jen, K. & Squires, E. J. 2011. Efficacy of non-nutritive sorbent materials as intestinal-binding agents for the control of boar taint. Animal, 5 (11), 1814-1820.

For a complete list Jim Squire’s publications go to: scholar.google.ca/citations?user=hAU8nQYAAAAJ&hl=en