Animal scientist studies effects of maternal nutrition on offspring

Kristen Govoni
Kristen Govoni

Associate professor Kristen Govoni has spent the majority of her career at UConn, having earned her BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in animal science in the College. Her research focuses on animal growth, development and health.

For the past eight years, Govoni has been involved in a collaboration with two other faculty in the Department of Animal Science, Professor Steven Zinn and Associate Professor Sarah Reed. Using sheep as a model, the team has recently received their fifth USDA grant to examine the effects of maternal diet during gestation on offspring health and growth, with a goal of improving livestock health and production efficiency.

Their research has demonstrated that overfeeding and restricted feeding during gestation adversely affects offspring, resulting in decreased muscle growth and increased fat, as well as changes in metabolism. Specifically, a decrease in the ability to regulate and utilize glucose and changes in hormones such as leptin, which regulates satiety, lead to altered overall body composition and metabolism in offspring.

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Awards and achievements in CAHNR

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Defining Studios photo.

Mark Brand receives SPARK award from Office of Vice President of Research

The Office of Vice President of Research announced the award decisions for the SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund Program. Professor Mark Brand of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture was chosen as an awardee in the highly selected competition. SPARK supports innovative proof-of-concept studies seeking to translate research discoveries into products, processes, and other commercial applications. Its overarching mission is to advance promising faculty inventions towards the market, where they can have a positive impact for the University, society, and the state’s economy. Brand’s project is entitled “Developing High Output Vegetative Propagation Methods for an Improved Northern Bayberry.”

By Jason M. Sheldon

CAHNR in the news

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From the CAHNR digital archive.

Tina Detelj of WTNH discussed new federal funding for Connecticut aquaculture with Anoushka Concepcion, an assistant extension educator and aquaculture specialist with Connecticut Sea Grant.

UConn Today spoke with Douglas Casa, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and chief operating officer of the Korey Stringer Institute, about exertional heat stroke and athlete safety.

Associate Dean and Associate Director for UConn Extension Mike O’Neill was quoted in a Washington Post article about how the United States Department of Agriculture’s relocation of two scientific agencies, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Economic Research Service, has delayed key studies and millions of dollars in funding. Continue reading