CAHNR in the news

newsprintUConn Today reported on research published in Food Policy, which found a relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and weekly household food spending on meats. Postdoctoral Research Associate Rebecca Boehm, who works with the Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy in agricultural and resource economics, was the lead author of the study. See also The Washington Post, Chicago TribuneScience Daily and

UConn Today described the new Engineering and Science Building, with some of its space dedicated to the Department of Allied Health Sciences pursuits. For example, both the Professional Master’s in Genetic and Genomic Counseling and the Professional Science Master’s in Health Care Genetics programs are housed there. In addition, the Institute for Systems Genomics includes faculty from several disciplines, including allied health. The genetics work conducted in the new building will teach students, prepare leaders in health care and further research and training. Continue reading

Awards and accolades for CAHNR

4-H Leaders Conference Awards(1)
4-H Leaders Conference Awards, Connecticut Agricultural College. By Jerauld A. Manter, 1956. From the UConn Libraries Archives and Special Collections.

The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) recently recognized PhD student Courtney Millar as an emerging leader at its Nutrition 2018 meeting in Boston. Millar was part of the Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science poster competition, which recognizes the highest quality research presented by students and young investigators to ASN’s abstract categories, according to the Nutrition 2018 website.

Jillian Ives, Ambassador Program Administrator, announced the new College Ambassador cohort for 2018-2019. The Ambassador website says, “Ambassadors serve as the face of CAHNR and RHSA. They help run programs on- and off-campus, and get to meet prospective students and families, current UConn students, and alums. They also receive leadership training and professional development from faculty and staff.”

Sarah Ammirato – Agriculture & Natural Resources, Ag Education Dual Degree ’20

Julia Assard – Allied Health Sciences ’20

Sydney Barker – Animal Science ’20

Ely-Anna Becerril – Natural Resources ’21

Isabela Blackwell – Allied Health Sciences ’20

Justyna Cieslik – Animal Science (AAS) ’18, Animal Science (BS) ’20

Julia Desiato – Pathobiology ’21

Lauren Engels – Animal Science ’19

Noah Freeman – Exercise Science ’19

Julia Guay – Natural Resources ’19

Cheyenne Johnson – Allied Health Sciences ’21

Jordan Kennedy – Animal Science (AAS) ’17, Allied Health Sciences ’19

Christina Kosecki – Animal Science ’20

Tessa Marandola – Animal Science ’20

Kathleen Renna – Diagnostic Genetic Sciences ’20

Chrishima Richards – Landscape Architecture ’20

Anne Schindler – Natural Resources ’19

Elaine Wehmhoff – Applied & Resource Economics ’20

Mengtian Zhu – Nutritional Sciences ’20



Meet graduate student Dominique Martin


Dominique Martin with two UConn foals.
Dominique Martin with two UConn foals.

Dominique Martin is serious about horses, having owned one since the age of twelve. She plans a career in research, with her ultimate goal involving equine research. Martin is a mentor for the Department of Animal Science, training undergraduates in laboratory techniques and cell culture. She contributed to this blog as a recipient of the Gavitt Grant, which places interns in the CAHNR Office of Communications. Here is what she said in an interview.

Where did you study as an undergraduate? What was your major? As a freshman I went to Centenary University in New Jersey and was an equine science major. I decided that Centenary was not the right school for me and transferred to UConn as a sophomore and pursued animal science.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school? I decided to go to graduate school after getting involved in undergraduate research. Coming into college I wanted to go to vet school, but quickly realized I really enjoyed research. I worked on my undergraduate honors thesis in Assistant Professor Sarah Reed’s lab and decided I wanted to continue researching.

Who is your advisor? What is your field of research? My advisor is Dr. Reed. My master’s thesis research is evaluating how poor maternal nutrition during gestation alters offspring muscle metabolism. Our lab works on a collaborative project that uses sheep as a model, to understand how over- and under-feeding mothers during gestation impacts offspring development. However, as a graduate student I have been involved in multiple different projects in the lab, which I really enjoyed.

Name one aspect of your work that you like. One thing I particularly like about research, especially animal science research, is that every day is different. Some days I’m down at the barn taking care of sheep or ultrasounding horses, and others I am in lab doing cell culture or running an assay. I am always quite busy and rarely bored, which makes it interesting. Continue reading

CAHNR provides many undergrad research opportunities

Apicella Peter Frontiers
Undergraduate Peter Apicella stands by the Frontiers research poster he created with fellow horticulture student Jacob Griffith Gardner. UConn photo.

Various CAHNR students and faculty advisors/mentors are involved in undergraduate research projects. According to Associate Dean for Academic Programs Sandra Bushmich, undergraduates follow several avenues of exposure to research science. Some examples include students who do research for academic credit, through internship programs and as part of employment in a laboratory.

Recent undergraduate research events highlighted the work or proposals of those who were receiving an IDEA grant, presenting a Frontiers research poster or obtaining a SURF award. In addition, two students received travel funds to present their research findings at meetings. The UConn Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) hosts the award events.

(The names of CAHNR undergraduate students involved and CAHNR advisors/mentors for the projects are bolded.)

IDEA Grants

Idea Grant graphic
Graphic courtesy of UConn OUR

Among the 40 UConn undergraduates who were recently awarded UConn IDEA Grants are seven from CAHNR. This program supports student-designed and student-led projects with awards of up to $4000 per student. Awards are given to individual and group projects. IDEA stands for imagine/develop/engage/apply.

Individual Projects

 In this project, Force Applied to the Horse’s Head by Bitted and Bitless Bridles, Kelli Knapp (Animal Science, Equine Business Management) will measure the force applied to a horse’s nose, mouth and top of the head during basic riding maneuvers by bitted and bitless bridles in an effort to prevent pain and tissue damage and help horse riders and trainers improve equine welfare.

The project for Annette Montoya (Horticulture), Children’s Cognitive Garden, involves creating a children’s cognitive garden at the UConn Avery Point campus to encourage experiential learning through sensory stimulation and self-directed play. The garden will be open to the community and serve as a model that can be used in other settings.

David Rascati (Sustainable Plant & Soil Systems) will design and install a unique garden that captures the feeling of a painting in an enveloping three-dimensional space using plants as a medium in his project called Painting with Plants.

The Effects of Poor Maternal Nutrition on mRNA Expression of IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFPB-2, and IGFBP-3 in the Ovine Placenta will be researched by Caitlyn Splaine (Animal Science). She will investigate how poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy affects the expression of specific growth factors and growth factor binding proteins in the placenta and, ultimately, the growth of the fetus in a sheep model. Continue reading