Research in the Department

Our faculty conduct groundbreaking research that influences the scientific community and frequently makes headlines. Explore their research and websites below to learn about recent discoveries and opportunities to engage with them and their work.

Animal Behavior

Lab of Dr. Monique Udell
Lab Website

Dr. Udell's research focuses on animal behavior and social cognition, including lifetime factors that facilitate social bonds between humans and other species. Her interests include:

  • Human-animal interactions, including the development of social bonds and cross-species communication
  • The development and cognition of canines including domestic dogs, wolves, coyotes, and foxes
  • Evolutionary and lifetime factors that influence the cognition, welfare, and social behavior of domesticated and captive animals


Lab of Dr. Carlos Ochoa
Lab Website

Dr. Ochoa's research focuses on:

  • Surface water and groundwater interactions, aquifer recharge
  • Watershed-riparian systems ecological and hydrological connectivity
  • Coupled human and natural ecosystems
  • Systems thinking and system dynamics

Pasture and Grazing Management

Lab of Dr. Serkan Ates

Dr. Ates' research focuses on pasture and grazing management for improved animal production and product quality. His current research interests include:

  • Novel pasture and grazing systems
  • Animal-pasture interactions, particularly intake, diet preference, and behavior grazing ruminants
  • Evaluation of tannin-containing legumes for livestock grazing
  • Management of self-seeding annual legumes in permanent pastures
  • Dual purpose and cover crop grazing

Rangeland Ecology

Lab of Dr. Ricardo Mata-González

Dr. Mata-González's research centers on rangeland vegetation and arid land plants. He is interested in studying the ecology, eco-physiology, and consumption of these plants as affected by different forms of management or environmental variation. His current research can be grouped into the following areas:

  • Water use and plant adaptations to drought
  • Utilization of organic amendments and mycorrhizal fungi in ecological restoration
  • Ecological impacts of livestock grazing
  • Carbon accumulation as affected by ecosystem management
  • Rangeland invasive plants/weeds (exotic annuals, juniper)


Lab of Dr. Massimo Bionaz

Dr. Bionaz's research focuses on:

  • Nutrigenomics in dairy cows: development of high-throughput systems to study nutrigenomics; fine-tuning the metabolism through nutrients; transcriptomic and epigenomic effects of long-chain fatty acids; and nutritional genomics during transition from pregnancy to lactation
  • Milk and human health: effects of milk on obesity and bone development/regeneration, especially considering  mesenchymal stem cells and micro RNA present in milk's exosomes; effect of milk miRNA on immune system
  • Welfare and management of dairy cows: significance and effects of inflammatory-like conditions during peripartum; development of an integrative welfare system for dairy farms; and relationship between management and animal welfare
  • Systems biology: further development of the Dynamic Impacts Approach for use with omics dataset from complex experimental design, such as time course and multiple treatments experiments


Lab of Dr. Cecily Bishop

Research in Dr. Bishop’s lab currently focuses on the following projects:

  • In vitro culture systems to support growth of ruminant follicles, and to discover critical factors for folliculogenesis
  • Role of ovarian cell types in growth of follicles which may contribute to infertility in women and ruminants
  • Animal models of abnormal follicle growth and development leading to polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Impact of vitamin supplementation on fertilization and embryo development in cattle

In addition, Dr. Bishop does research at Oregon Health & Sciences University:

Any open Postdoctoral or Graduate Student positions in Dr. Bishop’s research group will be posted on the Society for the Study of Reproduction’s Career Center site:


Lab of Dr. Michelle Kutzler

Dr. Kutzler's research is currently focused on these projects:

  • Accuracy of DNA testing for predicting production and performance traits in crossbreed Angus cattle
  • Use of platelet-rich plasma for the treatment of subclinical endometritis in beef heifers
  • Use of acupuncture to decrease somatic cell counts in dairy cattle with subclinical mastitis
  • Effect of age on ovine endometrial follicle stimulating hormone receptor expression
  • Endometrial estrogen receptor, follicle stimulating hormone receptor, and mucin-1 expression during early diestrus in ewes following PG-600 administration
  • Luteinizing hormone receptor-mediated proliferation of isolated canine T-lymphoma cells
  • Sperm protein reactive with anti-sperm antibody (SPRASA) is immunoexpressed in equine primordial, primary, secondary, and tertiary follicles