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Kortney Acton

Position/Title: M.Sc. by Thesis
Office: ANNU 043

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I graduated from the University of Guelph in 2018 with a degree in Animal Biology and a minor in Nutrition. I have worked in Dr. Katie Wood’s lab since 2017, first as a summer undergraduate research assistant and then completing an independent study for my fourth-year thesis project assessing protein turnover in late pregnancy beef cattle. I quickly realized how much I loved research and writing, and I already knew I loved working with cattle, so a masters in cattle nutrition seemed right up my alley! I am a recipient of the OMAFRA Highly Qualified Personnel Scholarship which will allow me to participate in an internship program at an agricultural company. Once I have completed my masters degree, I hope to continue on to a PhD in Ruminant Nutrition or to enter into the agricultural industry with a feed company.

During pregnancy, environmental stimuli that the mother experiences can influence the developing fetus; this ultimately affects the offspring’s growth and development throughout life.  This process is commonly referred to as fetal programming. Fetal programming can have positive effects on health, growth potential, and carcass quality. Due to these advantages, ensuring that cattle are supplied with adequate nutrition during pregnancy can help enhance growth of their offspring and ultimately increase producer profit.

My research is a continuation study looking at the effects of supplying methionine, an essential amino acid to pregnant beef cattle during the last eight weeks of pregnancy. I am following the growth and development of their male offspring to asses how maternal nutrition impacts long-term offspring development. The next step for this research will be to determine the mechanism of action for how intake of methionine by the mother is transferred to the fetus.