Research Themes in Animal Biosciences

Sustainable and ethical animal production, care and use
The main goals of our research under this theme are to develop technologies and strategies to increase the efficiency of using resources to provide safe and nutritious animal products for consumers and to improve the well-being of farm, companion, lab and zoo animals.

High quality and value-added animal products
Research under this theme is focused on the production of nutritionally enriched or tailored animal products to improve human and animal health and increase producer profit.

Animal models for human metabolism, nutrition, and health
This research theme focuses on the use of alternative animal models for studying human health and physiology.


Some specific examples of ongoing innovative and high impact research include:

  • Cost-efficient feed and alternative animal feed ingredients: ABSc research has identified the use of co-products from food and biofuel industries as cost-effective feed ingredients for cattle, poultry, swine, and fish - enhancing values of these ‘waste products’ and minimizing reliance of animals on feeds that may serve as human foods.
  • Genomics and genetics, food quality: Advanced genetic research has identified genetic markers to improve beef tenderness, feed efficiency in cattle and reduced boar taint in pigs, thus contributing to on-going work to develop effective breeding strategies
  • Animal care and welfare: Research has refined objective measures of animal suffering, and identified specific welfare risk factors occurring within farm and zoo animal housing, farm animals transport; and many other practical situations; welfare-related expertise is also used in (farm) animal care codes that have been used in expert reports in Canada, USA and UK.
  • Animal health and productivity: Characterization and (genetic) manipulation of microbes, fermentation products (i.e., bio-actives and enzymes) that improve gut health and function when fed to ruminant or non-ruminant animals.
  • Environmental impact: Mathematical models to estimate the impact of alternative farm animal management strategies as well as nutritional and dietary interventions on carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, odour and methane losses and emission into the environment.
  • Functional food (and feed) attributes: Impact of dietary fatty acid profiles on immune function and disease resistance; using pigs as models to evaluate novel and human health-promoting potato cultivars.