Postdoc position in Applied Quantitative Genetics of Livestock at University of Alberta

Several positions are available immediately at the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta. Successful applicants will join a very successful team of researchers at the Livestock Gentec Center to develop and implement genomic tools to improve feed efficiency and other economically relevant traits in beef cattle. Major research responsibilities include: (1). Development and implementation of methodology for genetic evaluation of breeding stock for multiple traits; (2). Development and implementation of methodology to incorporate genomic information into genetic evaluation to improve accuracy; (3). Development and implementation of genomic prediction equations to predict genetic merit of complex traits for breeding stock; (4). Development and implementation of multiple trait selection indexes to assist with breeding programs. (5). Assist with development and maintenance of large databases.

Applications must have a Ph.D degree from a recognized university in areas of Quantitative Genetics and/or Statistical Genomics. Candidates must have a good understanding of theoretical and computational principles related to the analyses of quantitative and molecular data for the purpose of genetic evaluation and genomic prediction. The candidates must also demonstrate skills and working experience in computer programming preferably in C, C++, ASreml, SAS, R or Perl to develop customized programs for genetic evaluation and genomic prediction. The ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with colleagues in research and extension is essential. Previous research experience in cattle is desirable. Knowledge and experience working with large databases will be an asset.

The initial appointment will be for one year and is renewable upon satisfactory performance. The salary is commensurate with experience. Interested candidates should submit full curriculum vitae, a statement of qualifications and experience, and names of three referees to:

Dr. Graham Plastow 
Professor and CEO, Livestock Gentec Center 
Department of Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science 
University of Alberta 
1400 College Plaza 
8215-112 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2C8 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Phone: 780-492-1496; Fax: 780-248-1900

MSc Graduate Research Position for a project on “The use of genomics for the genetic improvement of the Hays Converter”.

Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta

The Hays Converter (HC) is a beef breed developed in Canada in the 1950s. Initial work used pedigree records to determine genetic diversity and levels of inbreeding of the breed. A positive rate of inbreeding and a decrease in the amount of genetic diversity was found. Single trait and bivariate animal models were used to determine genetic parameters and trends for growth, ultrasound, and carcass traits. An increasing genetic trend was found for growth traits which the breed was selected for. All of the animals in the herd along with some ancestors have been genotyped. The accuracy of imputation from 6k to 50k marker panels using a reference group of 100 animals was determined. Imputation was performed with a high accuracy (>0.93) for pure Hays Converter animals, but was found to be unsuccessful when individuals had large contributions from additional breeds. This work forms the foundation for future management and improvement of the breed. This new project will seek to develop new tools for improving the breed including the development and application of selection indexes, the use of genomic pedigree matrix for control of inbreeding and mate allocation, and the further investigation of the genetic architecture of the breed and its use to model GWAS and genomic selection across HC and other populations.

Contact: Prof. Graham Plastow, Livestock Gentec, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Tel 780-492-1496)

See here for additional info


Graduate Student Position Details

Testing of Residual Feed Intake (RFI) in Cow/Calf Production Systems
Dr. Edward Bork / Dr. Graham Plastow
Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science
Residual feed intake is an important measure of production efficiency in beef cattle, yet little field testing of RFI has been conducted under extensive cow/calf production systems. This project will test the role of RFI in altering
cow/calf performance in the Mixedgrass Prairie of southern Alberta. This investigation is unique in that it will combine the disciplines of genetics, animal science and rangeland management to field test RFI in native grasslands. In addition, variation in animal performance (production metrics and efficiency) will be further explored by evaluating animal-based differences in habitat selection, forage use and grazing behavior across the landscape.
Applicants should have a background in animal science, range or pasture management, environmental sciences, or a related field.

A valid class 5 (non-probationary) drivers license is required.
Residual Feed Intake
Production Systems
Dr. Edward Bork (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Phone: 780-492-3843

Dr. Graham Plastow (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Phone: 780-492-1496
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