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John Lee Pratt Graduate Scholar Program

Assistantships are available through the bequest of John Lee Pratt for "promoting the study of animal nutrition, and to provide equipment and materials for experiments in feeding and the preparation of feeds for livestock and poultry and to publish and disseminate the practical results thereby obtained."

M.S. scholars will be paid at Step 11 and Ph.D. scholars at Step 12 as determined by the Graduate School. Full tuition and fees will be paid from the endowment. In addition, M.S. and Ph.D. scholars will receive a total of $1,500 and $2,500, respectively, to support their research program, including travel expenses to national or international conferences for presentation of their research results.

The Pratt Review Panel has developed the following minimum criteria for selecting graduate scholars. However, some departments might require more rigorous criteria for admission of students to this program:

  • Minimum of 3.4 grade point average (GPA) for students entering from an undergraduate program.
  • Minimum of 3.6 GPA for students entering from a graduate program (Ph.D. candidates).
  • Minimum quantitative graduate record exam (GRE) score must be at or above the 70th percentile. This equates to a score of 157.
  • International students graduating in the top 20% of their class will be eligible even if their GPA does not meet the above criteria, provided their quantitative GRE score is greater than the 70th percentile.

Students who are interested in studying animal or equine nutrition should inquire directly to the resident departments of faculty members who have received Pratt endowment funds. There are Pratt scholars in the Departments of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Dairy Science, and Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences.

The faculty recipient's departmental graduate committee will evaluate student qualifications for Pratt assistantships to ensure the candidates meet minimum requirements. Applications from selected candidates should be submitted by the faculty to the college's Associate Dean of Research for final approval of awards. 

  • Faculty members conduct nutrition research with beef cattle, dairy cattle, horses, poultry, sheep, and swine using modern biotechnology and conventional laboratory techniques in controlled animal facilities and in field production systems.
  • Research continues to reassess the energy, amino acid, mineral, and vitamin needs of modern growing, finishing, lactating, and reproducing ruminants. The influence of nutrition and several environmental factors on performance and immune response is being studied in ruminants and non-ruminants.
  • Neural and hormonal control of food (energy and protein) and water intake, and factors affecting these, are being studied primarily in poultry. Nutrient management to reduce nutrient excretion by poultry and swine is being investigated with an emphasis on the reduction of phosphorous waste through the use of phytase to improve phytate phosphorous utilization.
  • Studies of gastrointestinal physiology, primarily with proteins, peptides, and amino acids, determine the impact of endogenous and exogenous factors on digestion, absorption, and transport. The biochemical role of minerals and vitamins in steroid-directed gene expression is being characterized.
  • Animal wastes, seafood processing residues, and other underutilized materials and by-products are being examined as potential sources of feeds for ruminants and non-ruminants. The influence of the chemical form of the mineral in mineral utilization by pigs is being studied. Forage utilization for high and low production, as well as mineral metabolism in ruminants, is emphasized.
  • Growth and development, whole-body protein metabolism, and partitioning of nutrients as influenced by hormonal and nutritional factors are major areas of interest in ruminant studies. As the opportunities arise, new feed additives and other growth-promoting agents are being evaluated for most species.
  • Equine research efforts are directed toward the development of nutritional programs that maximize the use of forage and the effects of nutrition on exercise physiology. The use of high-protein corn for pigs and poultry is being evaluated. Hormonal control of liver and adipose metabolism, as well as calcium availability, is being investigated in lactating dairy cattle. In addition, energy partitioning is being studied for milk synthesis and metabolic response to various sources of dietary long-chain fatty acids.
  • Research is also being conducted to examine pasture-based dairy and beef cattle systems to optimize profitability, product quality, and animal health while minimizing environmental impact.
  • Vitamin and trace-mineral nutrition is being studied in a variety of animals to determine how these nutrients relate to production and animal health. The program focuses on the relationships between trace nutrients and cellular oxidative functions as they impact both immunocompetence and nutrient utilization. Development of optimal supplementation strategies based on understanding the mechanistic role of trace nutrients in production and disease prevention is an ongoing goal.

 

Updated August 2012