Meet Megan Nelson, our latest addition to Farm Journal's PORK's Up & Coming Leaders feature. We will be showcasing some of the fresh, new voices of the pork industry who combine innovative thought and work ethic with scientific savvy and a passion to make a difference.
Name: Megan Nelson
Hometown: Eleva, Wisconsin
Education: bachelor’s degree, University of Wisconsin-Madison; master’s degree in animal science with certificate in teaching in higher education, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; Ph.D. with a Certificate in Teaching in College STEM Courses from North Dakota State University.
Q. What is your background in the swine industry?
A. Pigs were my favorite animal growing up, so I always had an interest in working with them. During my undergraduate career, I became interested in working with pigs as a biomedical model when I became more familiar with research and its benefits.
Q. Tell us about your internship experiences.
A. I had one internship, during the summer of 2012, working as a dairy medicine intern through the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a western Wisconsin vet clinic. My role was to quantify the rate of clinical ketosis and correlate ketosis rate and pre-fresh stocking density in dairy heifers and cows in western Wisconsin. I took summer courses that counted towards graduation during the other summers.
Q. Did you take part in undergraduate research?
A. Other than the dairy medicine internship, I worked with Dr. Milo Wiltbank’s research group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison within dairy science endocrinology and reproductive physiology. We focused on improving superovulation recovery of embryos in Holsteins through feed restriction.
Q. What other learning opportunities have you been involved in?
A. Although my favorite animals were pigs, my family did not own any. Because of that, my swine experience was limited until I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and had hands-on learning experiences during laboratory periods.
Q. Tell us about your current research.
A. I am currently working on a project looking at the role of various supplements, fed to pregnant sows during mid-to-late gestation, on maternal health and fetal development and programming. I am specifically interested in the influence of fetal programming on obesity and diabetes. The sows and fetuses are used as a biomedical model to hopefully help improve nutritional guidelines for pregnant women and increase our knowledge of a mother’s food consumption on offspring health.