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Katie Wood

Position/Title: Associate Professor
Phone: (519) 824-4120 ext. 53695
Office: ANNU 236

Google scholar site link
Research gate site link
Twitter site link

Meet Katie ( 60 second OAC  video )

Katie Wood developed a passion for animal agriculture early in life through her experiences on her family’s cow/calf operation and through her involvement in the 4-H program. After concluding her Ph.D., she completed an NSERC post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Saskatchewan. During this time her work focused on understanding gut barrier function and nutrient absorption in ruminants and their interactions with health, metabolic disease and production efficiencies. Katie returned to the University of Guelph in April 2016 as a faculty member. Outside of her research, Katie breeds, owns and shows Simmental cattle and Polled Dorset sheep.

Academic History

  • B.Sc. Agriculture, University of Guelph (2007)
  • M.Sc. in ruminant nutrition, University of Guelph (2009)
  • Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition and physiology, University of Guelph (2013)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Saskatchewan (2016)

Affiliations and Partnerships

  • American Dairy Science Association
  • American Society of Animal Science
  • Canadian Society of Animal Science
  • Canadian Sheep Breeders Association
  • Canadian Simmental Association

Awards and Honours

NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2014)

Research Impact

In 2015, the Canadian beef cattle industry developed several goals for the next five years, of which improved production efficiency and sustainability are key themes. Much of Katie’s research seeks to assist the industry with meeting these goals by improving understanding of the mechanisms of feed efficiency and by providing feeding programs developed as a result of this greater understanding.

Current Research Projects

How does biology contribute to feed efficiency in feedlot production, and how can we develop feeding/management strategies to optimize feed efficiency?

Katie’s research program works to understand if the form of dietary energy supple influences tissue deposition, biological mechanism influences efficiency, and insulin production in feedlot steers over the finishing period. It is currently not understood why a steer on a finishing diet experiences production efficiency drops that intensify as it nears finishing before slaughter. Her team seeks to enhance understanding of some of the metabolic changes that occur over the finishing period to better target key metabolic pathways influencing feed efficiency. This project will combine animal feeding experiments with molecular and RNA-seq technologies. This project is funded by the Beef Cattle Research Council Science Cluster and OMAFRA Tier II.

Does providing additional protein in the late-gestational period improve cow health and production?

Katie’s research seeks to understand if providing additional protein in the late-gestational and periparturient periods (prior to calving) reduces protein catabolism and improves cow and calf performance. During the course of her Ph.D. research, she discovered that there appears to be some form of protein cycling that occurs very close to calving. Her current project explores the metabolism of beef cows just prior to calving and attempts to determine if feeding high levels of protein to these cows will alter some of these processes. They are assessing the effects of this dietary change on their milk and colostrum production, as well as on the developmental programming aspects of the calf. This project is being conducted out of the University of Saskatchewan, where her graduate student is heavily involved in the logistical aspects of the project in addition to sample collection design and diet formulation. This research is funded by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund and Alberta Beef Producers.

Graduate Student Information

As an advisor, Katie likes working with graduate students who are keen to take ownership and responsibility for their projects. She strives to support her graduate students while also affording them a good degree of independence and autonomy. She enjoys learning and discovering along with her students and believes it is critical that students select a project that they are passionate about in order to be successful.

Featured Publications

  • Wood, K.M., Awda, B.J., Fitzsimmons, C., Miller, S.P., McBride, B.W., and Swanson, K.C. (2013). The effect of moderate dietary restriction on visceral organ weight, hepatic oxygen consumption, and metabolic proteins associated with energy balance in mature pregnant beef cows. J. Anim. Sci. 91: 4245-4255.
  • Wood, K.M., Montanholi, Y.R., Fitzsimmons, C.F., Miller, S.P., McBride, B.W., and Swanson, K.C. (2014). Characterization and evaluation of residual feed intake measured in mid- to late-gestation mature beef cows and relationships with circulating serum metabolites and linear body measurements. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 94: 499-508.
  • Wood, K.M., Pinto. A.C.J., Millen, D.D., Kanafany Guzman, R., and Penner, G.B. (2016). The influence of increasing levels of monensin on short-chain fatty acid absorption, rumen pH, and total tract digestibility and barrier function in beef heifers. J. Anim. Sci. 94:2471-2478

        For a full list of publications, please visit Katie's Google Scholar page.