Chair's Welcome ( Dr. Jim Squires )

Jim Squires, ABSc chairThe Department of Animal Biosciences (ABSc) is the only department of its kind in Ontario and one of the leading animal science departments globally. ABSc is research-intensive with 27 regular and adjunct faculty members, 100+ graduate students and 800+ undergraduate students. All have a strong passion for studying the biology of animals and a goal of making a real difference in the world. ABSc is an integral part of Ontario's agriculture and food industry, supplying new ideas, research solutions and well-qualified graduates to this key economic sector.

Our research and teaching programs span both basic and applied sciences having to do with the feeding, breeding, housing and care of animals used by humans. This includes the ethical and sustainable production of food and other animal products that can improve the health and well-being of people.

The department has a long history within the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), which was established in 1874, and now with the University of Guelph, which was established in 1964.

Academic Programs

ABSc offers dynamic and world-class academic programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Our programs provide ample opportunity to prepare students for successful careers in the Agri-food industry, research in animal biosciences, or companion, laboratory, and zoo animal management.  Our programs also provide excellent preparation for students interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

Undergraduate Programs

Our department offers three unique four-year degree programs. The Bachelor of Science major in Animal Biology is a popular choice for students wishing to pursue graduate studies or veterinary sciences. The Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Animal Science program is popular with students interested in pursuing careers in animal agriculture, and the Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management major in Equine Management is designed for students interested in working in the equine industry.

Graduate Programs

We offer world-class graduate training with options for M.Sc. by thesis, M.Sc. by coursework and Ph.D. degrees in four major areas of specialization: Animal Breeding and Genetics; Animal Nutrition; Animal Physiology; and Animal Behaviour and Welfare.

While the core of our research revolves around farm animal species, we also have faculty studying companion, zoo, and laboratory animals. Many of our faculty are award winners and research chairs that together attract around $6 million in research grants each year - providing research stipends for graduate students and opportunities for those students to train using the most advanced methods and technologies. Many of our graduate students are award winners too and hold scholarships from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and the OMAFRA Highly Qualified Personnel programs.

Research

Our faculty members conduct research in the disciplines of nutrition, nutrition modelling, physiology, molecular biology, biotechnology, behavior, breeding, genetics and meat science under three departmental research pillars:

  • Sustainable animal production, care, and use
  • The development of high quality and, value-added animal products
  • Using animal models for human metabolism, nutrition, and health research

Members of our faculty attract about $6 million in external research funds annually. With an emphasis on both fundamental and applied research, our research has high impacts on both the scientific community and the production, management, and care of food, companion, zoo and laboratory animals. The average h-index factor of our 18 faculty members is 21. Our faculty also lead four centers of excellence recognized for expertise in nutrition modeling, animal breeding and genetics, animal welfare, and aquaculture.  

The department has strong partnerships with organizations representing all facets of the animal agriculture industry.  ABSc includes resident scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and resident Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) extension specialists.  We are also a primary contributor to the delivery of research under the OMAFRA-U of G Partnership. Several of our faculty serve on international committees and have received international recognition for their contribution to science and education.

Members of our faculty have access to high-quality animal research facilities, a modern and federally inspected meats laboratory, and a range of laboratory facilities in genomics, nutrient analyses, physiology, and microbiology.  Our department also has a unique on-campus large farm, animal study rooms, and recovery surgical facilities for experimental animal research.

Our faculty are dedicated to extension activities in Ontario and beyond and have a close working relationship with the Ontario Agri-food industry and Ontario policy makers on a range of topics. Our research programs have resulted in significant benefits to both producers and society.

Our faculty are supported by well-trained and experienced administrative staff, animal research station technicians, and technical and teaching support staff. We also have a number of experienced research technicians that are supported by research grants.  Our graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and research associates lead day-to-day activities in many of our research programs and are critical to maintaining our leadership position in research and education. Please visit our people page for details.