Grant awarded to study mammary gland development

Zoetis Cattle Call research grant recipients to identify potential pathways to higher milk production.

Researchers at the University of California-Santa Cruz will continue research related to mammary gland development, thanks to $150,000 in research funding from Zoetis. The award is part of the competitive Zoetis Cattle Call research grant program, which supports efforts by North American researchers and veterinarians to improve dairy and beef cattle performance.

This year’s grant recipients, Drs. Lindsay Hinck, professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology, and Sharmila Chatterjee, a postdoctoral scholar, are working on basic research that could identify potential pathways to higher milk production in dairy cattle.

Hinck’s research lab studies mammary gland development and stem cell biology, focusing primarily on human breast cancer.

“I had never thought about the practical role our research could play in the dairy industry,” Hinck said. “It turns out that our investigation into regulatory mechanisms governing mammary stem cells can directly translate to milk production. This is a new and exciting direction for our research program.”

Zoetis group director of cattle and equine technical services Dr. Roger Saltman added, “Basic biological research is the foundation for solutions that could help improve cattle health and productivity in the future.”

Saltman is part of the Zoetis research committee that evaluates Cattle Call grant applications.

“We see many innovative ideas through our Cattle Call research grant program,” Saltman said. “What’s interesting about this proposal is that mammary development is a fundamental process that is not fully understood. Research such as this holds great promise for the dairy industry as we strive to get more milk from the same number of cows.”

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