John Killefer
Professor and Department Head
OSU Campus
Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences
108 Withycombe Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States


The overall goal of the Killefer laboratory is to develop a better understanding of the mechanisms regulating muscle growth and physiology at both the embryonic and postnatal stages of development, to assess the impact of these processes on muscle function, and ultimately to apply this knowledge to develop higher-quality production animals and meat products.


Ph.D. Animal Science, Oregon State University, 1990

B.A. Biology, Hastings College, 1984

2009-2011 - Meat Science and Muscle Biology Professor, UIUC

2002-2009 - Meat Science and Muscle Biology Associate Professor, UIUC

2000-2002 - Nutritional Biochemistry, Growth Physiology Associate Professor, WVU; Executive member of the Genetics/Developmental Biology program

1994-2000 - Nutritional Biochemistry, Physiology, Assistant Professor, WVU; Coordinator of the Undergraduate Biochemistry Program

I accept graduate students for Animal and Rangeland Sciences


Book Chapters
Killefer, J., and H. Kocamis.  2003.  Functional genomics:  Development and gene regulation.  In:   Poultry Genetics, Breeding and Biotechnology.  Muir, W.M., and Aggrey, S.E. (eds).

Koohmaraie, M., J. Killefer, M. Bishop, S.D. Shackelford, T.L. Wheeler, and J.R. Arbona.  1993.  Calpastatin based methods for predicting meat tenderness.  In:  Expression, Regulation and Role of Proteinases in Muscle Development and Meat Quality.  Ouali, A., Demeyer, D., and Smulders, F. (eds).

Refereed Journal Articles (Selected out of approximately 100 total)

Boler, D.D., S.R. Gabriel, H.Yang, R. Blsbaugh, D.C. Mahan, M.S. Brewer, F.K. McKeith, and J. Killefer.  2009.  Effect of different dietary levels of natural-source vitamin E in grow-finish pigs on pork quality and shelf life.  Meat Science, 83(4):723-730.

Rincker, P.J., J. Killefer, M. Ellis, M. S. Brewer, and F. K. McKeith. 2009. The effect of ractopamine and IMF content on sensory attributes of pork from pigs of similar genetics.  J. Muscle Foods 20:79-88.

Holmer, S.F., J. W. Homm, L. L. Berger, M. S. Brewer, F.K. McKeith, and J. Killefer. 2009.  Realimentation of cull beef cows. I. Live performance, carcass traits, and muscle characteristics.  J. Muscle Foods. 20:293-306.

Meyers, A.J., S.M. Scramlin, C.M. Souza, A.C. Dilger, F.K. McKeith, and J. Killefer. 2009. Contribution of Lean, Fat, Muscle Color and Degree of Doneness to Pork and Beef Species Flavor.  Meat Science 82:59-63.

Dilger, A.C., S.R. Gabriel, L.W. Kutzler, F.K. McKeith, and J. Killefer.  2010.  The myostatin null mutation and clenbuterol administration elicit additive effects in mice.  Animal, 4(3):466-471.

Boler,D.D., A.C. Dilger, B.S. Bidner, S.N. Carr, J. M. Eggert, J.W. Day, M. Ellis, F.K. McKeith and J. Killefer. 2010. Ultimate ph explains variation in pork quality traits. J. Muscle Foods 21(1): 119-130.

Scramlin, S.M., W.J. Platter, R.A. Gomez, W.T. Choat, F.K. McKeith, and J. Killefer. 2010. Comparative effects of ractopamine hydrochloride and zilpaterol hydrochloride on growth performance, carcass traits, and sensory characteristics of finishing steers. J. Animal  Science 88(5):1823-1829.

Souza, C.M, Boler, D.D., Clark, D.L., Holmer, S.F., Kutzler, L.W., Summerfield, J.W., Cannon, J.E., McKeith, F.K., and Killefer, J. (2011). The effects of high pressure processing on pork quality, shelf life, palatability, and further processed products. Meat Science. 87(4):419-427.

Boler, D.D., Kutzler, L.W., Meeuwse, D.M., King, V.L., McKeith, F.K., and Killefer, J. (2011). Effects of increasing lysine levels on carcass composition and cutting yields of immunologically castrated males pigs. Journal of Animal Science 89 (7):2189-2199.

Boler, D.D., Clark, D.L., Baer, A.A., Meeuwse, D.M., King, V.L., McKeith, F.K., and Killefer, J. (2011). Effects of increasing lysine levels on further processed product characteristics of immunologically castrated male pigs. Journal of Animal Science 89(7):2200-2209.

Kutzler, L.W., Holmer, S.F., Boler, D.D., Carr, S.N., Ritter, M.J., McKeith, F.K., and Killefer, J. (2011). Comparison of varying doses and durations of Ractopamine on late finishing pig carcass characteristics and meat quality. Journal of Animal Science 89(7):2176-2188.

Tavarez, M.A., D.D. Boler, K.N. Bess, J. Zhao, R.J. Harrell, A.C. Dilger, F.K. McKeith, and J. Killefer. (2011).  Effects of antioxidant inclusion and oil quality on broiler performance, meat quality and lipid oxidation.  Journal of Poultry Science 90(4):922-930.

Boler, D.D., Fernandez-Dueñas, D.M., Kutzler, L.W., Zhao, J., Harrell, R.J., Campion, D.R., McKeith, F.K., Killefer, J. and A.C. Dilger (2012). Effects of oxidized corn oil and a synthetic antioxidant blend on performance, oxidative status of tissues, and fresh meat quality in finishing barrows. Journal of Animal Science 90(13): 5159-5169.

Souza, C.M, Boler, D.D., Clark, D.L. Kutzler, L.W., Holmer, S.F. Summerfield, J.W., Cannon, J.E., McKeith, F.K., and Killefer, J. (2012). Varying the temperature of the liquid used for high-pressure processing of prerigor pork: Effects on fresh pork quality, myofibrillar protein solubility, and frankfurter textural properties. Journal of Food Science. 77(1):S54-S61.

Boler, D.D., A.L. Shrek, D.B. Faulkner, J. Killefer, F.K. McKeith, J.W. Homm, and J.A. Scanga. (2012).  Effect of ractopamine hydrochloride (Optaflexx) dose on live animal performance, carcass characteristics and tenderness in early weaned beef steers.  Meat Science 92 (4): 458-463.

Lee, J.W., D.Y. Kil, B.D. Keever, J. Killefer, F.K. McKeith, R.C. Sulabo, and H.H. Stein (2013).  Carcass fat quality of pigs is not improved by adding corn germ, beef tallow, palm kernel oil, or glycerol to finishing diets containing distillers dried grains with solubles.  Journal of Animal Science 91(5):2426-2437.

Invited Lectures and Presentations (selected)

Killefer, J. 2002.  Novel Target Discovery in the Era of Genomics, MERCK and Company, Somerville, NJ, March 8.

Killefer, J.  2002.  Ghrelin – A Regulator of Growth and Nutrient Partitioning.  UIUC Nutritional Sciences Seminar.  September 4.

Killefer, J. 2003 Faculty (ACES) representative to the ELANCO Faculty Excellence Program; Oct. 12-14.

Killefer, J.  2004.  BSE Concerns – Why it is important to your business.  Assoc. of Meet Processors Conv.  Feb. 13.

Killefer, J.  2004 Reciprocation Session, American Meat Science Association- Reciprocal Meats Conference. June 23.

Killefer, J. and F. McKeith. 2005.   “The Butcher” on the HISTORY CHANNEL.  February – March.

Killefer, J.  2005.  Invited Growth Symposia Speaker, MWASAS, March 22.

Killefer, J.   2010.“Development of the Swine Industry in the USA”, Ministry of Commerce, First Training Session to Key Slaughterhouses.  Yichang City, Hubei Province, China, October 14-17

Awards and Honors

Graduate Student Research Award, Amer. Inst. of Nutr. (Procter and Gamble),  1989.

Award of Excellence, Research presentation.  1996.  National Poultry Science Association Meeting.

Recipient of the Outstanding Professor, College of Agriculture and Forestry.  1998.

Outstanding Researcher Division of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.  1999.

Highlighted Researcher for WVU Research: President’s State of the University Address.  2000.

West Virginia University Faculty Senator, 2001-2002.

ACOP/ESCOP Leadership Development Program (Class 10, 2000-2001).

NRICGP Grants Review Panel.  2002.

ACES Global Academy Fellow.  2007 – 2011

USDA/TSTAR Grant Review Panel. 2009.

Associate Editor, Journal of Animal Science. 2009 – 2013.

Food Systems Leadership Institute Fellow (2013-2015).

Total Grant Support: Exceeds six million dollars from federal, state, and private sources.

Fun Fact

Dr. Killefer enjoys restoring old muscle and sports cars.  He was also a Madrigal Singer for many years.