John Cant picture

John P. Cant


BSc, (AGR.) Nova Scotia, MSc, PhD University of California


bullet Lactation Systems Biology Lab homepage (updated monthly)
bullet Education

Ph.D., Nutrition, University of California, Davis. December 1992. Dissertation: Nutritional perturbation of milk protein content in the lactating dairy cow. Advisors: Dr. E.J. DePeters and Dr. R.L. Baldwin.

M.S., Animal Science, University of California, Davis. June 1990. Advisor: Dr. E.J. DePeters

B.Sc.(Agr.), Animal Science, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Truro. May 1986. Thesis: Effect of alfalfa meal and virginiamycin on mineral assimilation and retention in the growing pig. Advisor: Dr. D.M. Anderson
bullet Employment

Professor, Dept. Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, 7/08 - present

Associate Professor, Dept. Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, 7/02 - 6/08

Assistant Professor, Dept. Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, 5/96 - 6/02

Post-doctoral Researcher, Dept. Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, 6/93 - 4/96

Research Associate, Dept. Animal Science, Nova Scotia Agricultural College. 1/92 - 5/93
bullet Teaching

ANSC*4470 Animal Metabolism W(3-0) [0.50] 
A study of how regulation of the main pathways of carbohydrate, lipid and amino acid metabolism in gut, liver, muscle, adipose and mammary glands is coordinated so that farm animals may grow and lactate under a wide range of environmental influences. 
Undergraduate calendar description 
Course Profile

ANSC*6030 Modeling Metabolic Processes F [0.50] 
Hands-on building and testing of dynamic, mathematical models of metabolic systems using continuous simulation software. In addition, we will examine published models considering phenomena such as distribution in space and chaos. The orientation of models selected for study is towards an improvement in understanding of biological systems currently being studied by experimentation. 
Graduate calendar description 
Course Profile

ANSC*6460 Lactation Biology F [0.50] 
An in-depth systems analysis of lactation, comparing the cow, pig, rat, human and seal. Mammary anatomy and development from conception through to lactogenesis, lactation and involution will be covered. Hypotheses of hormonal and nutritional regulation of the biochemical pathways of milk synthesis will be tested in relation to experimental observations. Current areas of research activity are presented by discussion of cutting-edge and classic publications. Each week consists of 2 lectures and 1 session for discussion of a scientific paper, including history of the research topic and methodology. 
Graduate calendar description 
Course Profile

bullet Research Interests

I am a ruminant nutritionist with a special interest in explanation of the manufacture of organic milk components in the mammary glands of a cow. It is known that protein, fat and lactose in milk are synthesized from compounds taken out of blood by the mammary glands, but there are many opportunities for mammary tissue to regulate intracellular metabolism and metabolite uptake from blood to manipulate its own milk secretions. For example, the numbers of glucose transporters in the plasma and Golgi membranes are likely controlled in response to nutritional or hormonal stimuli. The mass of protein-synthetic machinery in mammary tissue definitely affects its ability to produce milk protein under differing physiological states. Of course, my brain is weak so the complexity of the interrelated metabolic pathways of milk synthesis can only be understood with mathematical models of the mammary system. I am intrigued by new and innovative ways to describe this system with math. I enjoy watching the development of concepts of metabolic regulation in mammary tissue arise from mathematical analysis. A concise set of equations can be a beautiful work of art.

Although most of my research is directed specifically towards mammary metabolism, the rest of the cow is important in manipulating the concentrations of milk precursors in blood and sending signals to the mammary glands about what is happening elsewhere. For example, the gut is a fascinating tissue which may have some direct links to the mammary glands. So I am also eager to study a tissue like the gut, or at least follow the work others are doing.

The philosophy that allows me to describe a cow with math may be applied to a whole farm, an ecosystem with interacting, fundamental elements like animals, soil, crops, microbes, insects and human interveners. With a computer model of a whole, mixed farm, efficient food production systems may be

bullet Current Graduate Students

to view activities of past and present students, visit the Lactation Systems Biology Lab page

Elisha Oakes
Fasting regulation of milk protein synthesis. M.Sc.

Matt Groen
Lactation curve fitting with biological models. M.Sc.

Richelle Curtis
Effects of glucose on milk protein synthesis. M.Sc.

Jenny Warrington
Selenized milk proteins and human breast cancer. M.Sc.

Priska Stahel
Dairy products and insulin sensitivity in rats. Ph.D.

Scott Cieslar
Selenium and lactation persistency. Ph.D.

Julie Kim
Translation of mammary proteins. Ph.D.
bullet Recent Publications

to link to past and present publications, visit the Lactation Systems Biology Lab page

Miranda, S.G., N.G. Purdie, V.R. Osborne, B.L. Coomber, and J.P. Cant. 2011. Selenomethionine increases proliferation and reduces apoptosis in bovine mammary epithelial cells under oxidative stress. J. Dairy Sci. 94(1):165-173.

Columbus, D., J.P. Cant, and C.F.M. de Lange. 2010. Estimating fermentative amino acid losses in the upper gut of pigs. Livest. Sci. 133(1-3):124-127.

Burgos, S.A., and J.P. Cant. 2010. IGF-I stimulates protein synthesis by enhanced signaling through mTORC1 in bovine mammary epithelial cells. Dom. Anim. Endocrinol. 38(4):211-221.

Connors, M.T., D.P. Poppi, and J.P. Cant. 2010. Chronic improvement of amino acid nutrition stimulates initiation of global messenger ribonucleic acid translation in tissues of sheep without affecting protein elongation. J. Anim. Sci. 88(2):689-696.

Toerien, C.A., D.R. Trout, and J.P. Cant. 2010. Nutritional stimulation of milk protein yield of cows is associated with changes in phosphorylation of mammary eukaryotic initiation factor 2 and ribosomal S6 kinase 1. J. Nutr. 140(2):285-292.

Burgos, S.A., M. Dai, and J.P. Cant. 2010. Nutrient availability and lactogenic hormones regulate mammary protein synthesis through the mammalian target of rapamycin signaling pathway. J. Dairy Sci. 93(1):153-161.

Volpe, V., J.P. Cant, R.C. Boston, P. Susmel, and P. Moate. 2010. Development of a dynamic mathematical model for investigating mammary gland metabolism in lactating cows. J. Agric. Sci. 148(1):31-54.

El-Haroun, E.R., D.P. Bureau, and J.P. Cant. 2010. A mechanistic model of nutritional control of protein synthesis in animal tissues. J. Theor. Biol. 262(2):361-369.

Sippel, M.A., R.S. Spratt, and J.P. Cant. 2009. Milk production responses of primiparous and multiparous dairy cows to dose of conjugated linoleic acid consumed in rumen inert form. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 89(3):393-399.

Greenwood, S.L., T.C. Wright, N.G. Purdie, J. Doelman, J.P. Cant, and B.W. McBride. 2009. Lactation induces upregulation of the ubiquitin-mediated proteolytic pathway in skeletal muscle of dairy cows but does not alter hepatic expression. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 89(3):309-313.

Libao-Mercado, A.J., C.L. Zhu, J.P. Cant, H. Lapierre, J.-N. Thibault, B. Sève, M.F. Fuller, and C.F.M. de Lange. 2009. Dietary and endogenous amino acids are the main contributors to microbial protein in the upper gut of normally nourished pigs. J. Nutr. 139(6):1088-1094.

Miranda, S.G., Y.J. Wang, N.G. Purdie, V.R. Osborne, B.L. Coomber, and J.P. Cant. 2009. Selenomethionine stimulates expression of glutathione peroxidase 1 and 3 and growth of bovine mammary epithelial cells in primary culture. J. Dairy Sci. 92(6):2670-2683.

Benschop, D.L. and J.P. Cant. 2009. Developmental changes in clearance of intravenous doses of glucose, acetate and β-hydroxybutyrate from plasma of calves. Livest. Sci. 122(2):177-185.

Osborne, V.R., N.E. Odongo, K.C. Swanson, J.P. Cant, and B.W. McBride. 2009. Effects of supplementing glycerol and soybean oil in drinking water on feed and water intake, energy balance, and production performance of periparturient dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 92(2):698-707.

Purdie, N.G., D.R. Trout, S.R.L. Cieslar, T.G. Madsen, D.P. Poppi, and J.P. Cant. 2009. The effect of short-term hyperammonemia on milk synthesis in dairy cows. J. Dairy Res. 76(1):49-58.

Doelman, J., N.G. Purdie, V.R. Osborne, and J.P. Cant. 2008. Short communication: The effects of histidine-supplemented drinking water on the performance of lactating dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 91(10):3998-4001.

Connors, M.T., D.P. Poppi, and J.P. Cant. 2008. Protein elongation rates in tissues of growing and adult sheep. J. Anim. Sci. 86(9):2288-2295.

Madsen, T.G., D.R. Trout, S.R.L. Cieslar, N.G. Purdie, M.O. Nielsen, and J.P. Cant. 2008. The histamine H-1 receptor is not involved in local control of mammary blood flow in dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 91(6):2461-2468.

Wright, T.C., J.P. Cant, and B.W. McBride. 2008. Use of metabolic control analysis in lactation biology. J. Agric. Sci. 146(3):267-273.

Purdie, N.G., D.R. Trout, D.P. Poppi, and J.P. Cant. 2008. Milk synthetic response of the bovine mammary gland to an increase in the local concentration of amino acids and acetate. J. Dairy Sci. 91(1):218-228.

Toerien, C.A. and J.P. Cant. 2007. Duration of a severe feed restriction required to reversibly decrease milk production in the high-producing dairy cow. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 87(3):455-458.

Thomas, L.C., T.C. Wright, A. Formusiak, J.P. Cant, and V.R. Osborne. 2007. Use of flavored drinking water in calves and lactating dairy cattle. J. Dairy Sci. 90(8):3831-3837.

Toerien, C.A., and J.P. Cant. 2007. Abundance and phosphorylation state of translation initiation factors in mammary glands of lactating and non-lactating dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 90(6):2726-2734.

Fathi Nasri, M.H., M. Danesh Mesgaran, J. France, J. P. Cant, and E. Kebreab. 2006. Evaluation of models to describe ruminal degradation kinetics from in situ ruminal incubation of whole soybeans. J. Dairy Sci. 89(8):3087-3095

Wright, T.C., J.P. Cant, J.T. Brenna, and B.W. McBride. 2006. Acetyl coA carboxylase shares metabolic control of de novo fatty acid synthesis with fatty acid synthase in bovine mammary homogenate. J. Dairy Sci. 89(7):2552-2558.

Weekes, T.L., P.H. Luimes, and J.P. Cant. 2006. Responses to amino acid imbalances and deficiencies in lactating dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 89(6):2177-2187.

Ellis, J.L. F. Qiao, and J.P. Cant. 2006. Prediction of dry matter intake throughout lactation in a dynamic model of dairy cow performance. J. Dairy Sci. 89(5):1558-1570.

Ellis, J.L., F. Qiao, and J.P. Cant. 2006. Evaluation of net energy expenditures of dairy cows according to bodyweight changes over a full lactation. J. Dairy Sci. 89(5):1546-1557.

Rustomo, B., O. AlZahal, J. P. Cant, M. Z. Fan, T. F. Duffield, N. E. Odongo and B. W. McBride. 2006. Acidogenic value of feeds. II. Effects of rumen acid load from feeds on dry matter intake, ruminal pH, fibre degradability and milk production in the lactating dairy cow. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 86(1):119-126.

Rustomo, B., J. P. Cant, M. Z. Fan, T. F. Duffield, N. E. Odongo, and B. W. McBride. 2006. Acidogenic value of feeds. I. The relationship between the acidogenic value of feeds and in vitro ruminal pH changes. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 86(1):109-117.

Hua, K., J.P. Cant, and D.P. Bureau. 2006. Dynamic simulation of phosphorus utilization in salmonid fish. in: E. Kebreab, J. Dijkstra, A. Bannink, W.J.J. Gerrits and J. France (eds.) Nutrient Digestion and Utilization in Farm Animals: Modelling Approaches. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK. pp. 180-191.

Cant, J.P., V.N. Walsh, and R.J. Geor. 2006. Obtaining information on gastric emptying patterns in horses from appearance of an oral acetaminophen dose in blood plasma. in: E. Kebreab, J. Dijkstra, A. Bannink, W.J.J. Gerrits and J. France (eds.) Nutrient Digestion and Utilization in Farm Animals: Modelling Approaches. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK. pp. 69-83.