New animal science professor seeks to improve animal, human health
Meagan King joined the Department of Animal Science as Assistant Professor in Animal Physiology and Welfare on January 1. She completed her graduate studies at the University of Guelph, and then worked as a post-doctoral research fellow and sessional instructor in the Department of Animal Biosciences there. Meagan shared her research and teaching areas, and how her mentors inspired her to combine her interests in research, animal science, and animal welfare.
Tell us about yourself
During my undergraduate studies in Environmental Biology, I worked at the humane society and in labs at Queen’s University (fish, zooplankton, plants). For my graduate studies, I chose to focus on dairy cow welfare and behaviour. These projects were mostly done on farms using robotic milking systems. I most recently did a post-doctoral research project on wildlife health and welfare.
Why did you get into this area of study?
Having spent time on the road with a legendary large animal veterinarian, Dr. Ken Hammond, I became interested in production animals and dairy science. I also really admired my professors (especially Dr. Shelley Arnott and Dr. Trevor DeVries) and wanted to combine my interests in research, animal science, and animal welfare.
What are you seeking to explore with your research?
My research looks at animal health, behaviour, and welfare with the goal of improving the lives of people and animals. For example, how can we house and manage animals to improve their health, welfare, and production efficiency? And how can we use precision technologies to improve animal health, as well as the quality of life and mental health of farmers?
What are you teaching? What appeals to you about being a teacher?
Teaching students in a research setting is really fun because it’s both a guided and independent experience for them that can be specific to what each student and research project needs. Teaching in the classroom allows me and students to stay up to date on current information and share that with each other.
I will be teaching three courses each year: Fall: ANSC 7530 Special Topics in Physiology, Winter: ANSC 3530 The Animal and Its Environment, and ANSC 4510 Domesticated Animal Behaviour.
Anything you want to share with students?
Like many students, I found it stressful deciding which career to pick. I wavered between having no specific end goal in mind or having goals that were way too specific (i.e. professor or veterinarian). I now view this as a positive thing because it kept me open-minded and willing to try new things. The best plan is a flexible plan.