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Penn State DAS Professor Receives Northeast ASAS Young Scientist-Educator Award

Posted: July 19, 2012

Dr. Burt Staniar, assistant professor of equine science, was recognized by ASAS for his outstanding contributions to the field of animal/dairy science.

Penn State's Department of Animal Science's Burt Staniar, Ph.D., has been recognized by the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) with its Northeast ASAS Young Scientist-Educator Award. The award will be presented at the Joint Annual Meeting of the ASAS and the American Dairy Science Association in Phoenix, AZ in July. It is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the broad field of Animal/Dairy Science by a young scientist as a researcher and/or educator.

Staniar has been assistant professor of equine science since 2007. He received his B.A. in biology at the University of Richmond, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in animal science at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, "Dr. Staniar is a talented and accomplished young scientist, and the recognition is well-deserved. He brings a high level of enthusiasm to his teaching, having a unique ability to engage students both in the classroom and in other educational settings.  He has had a tremendous positive impact on our equine science teaching and research programs."

One outstanding example of his innovative approach to teaching is his creation and development of the Penn State Equine Research Team (PSERT) which blends his passion for research and teaching. The novel concept allows students to participate in equine research as a way to develop a basic understanding of the "real world" of equine research. The team has been involved in all of his research projects and members have co-authored papers and presented abstracts at national meetings.

The first of its kind in the nation, the team has grown from seven members in 2008 to about 60 members in 2012. It is now formally recognized as an undergraduate student organization at Penn State. In 2011, Staniar was awarded the Advisor of the Year award with Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, in part for his work with PSERT.  He advises between 20 and 25 undergraduate students annually, and has advised 11 undergraduate research projects, including three honors theses.

Staniar's leadership in organizing an Undergraduate Equine Research Symposium in March is another example of offering students venues for sharing ideas and learning new research techniques outside of the classroom.  Last year he helped organize the first symposium held at Virginia Tech for Virginia Tech and Penn State Students. This year Penn State hosted the symposium and attracted undergraduates from Virginia Tech, Ohio State University, Cornell University and Penn State. Outstanding invited speakers highlighted the program which also included oral student presentations, poster presentations and wet labs.

Staniar began his career as an Assistant Professor in Animal and Poultry Science at Virginia Tech in 2004 where he was in a majority research position at Virginia Tech's Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

He is a member of the Equine Science Society, the American Society of Animal Science, the Comparative Nutrition Society and the Pennsylvania Equine Council.

Staniar eagerly shares his knowledge with the industry through seminars for the Equine Council and seminars at public events like Ag Progress Days and the Horse Expo.

Through his collaboration with scientists nationally and internationally, he has created opportunities for his students in gaining a global perspective that will be valuable as they enter the workforce. He has presented at numerous national meetings and also at conferences in Brazil, Canada, England, France and Italy. He also has lectured at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

He has served on the Journal of Animal Science editorial board since 2008 and reviews papers for this and other related journals. He has served on the Equine Science Society's nutritional committee since 2006, chairing the committee for the 2009 and 2011 meetings and has served on their board since 2009. He has also served on the Mid-Atlantic Nutritional Conference's equine committee since 2004, chairing it in 2006.

His research efforts are focused on how nutrition and management influence metabolic regulation, health and performance in the horse. Specific research topics in his lab include Laminitis, osteochondrosis and equine metabolic syndrome. He has obtained more than $235,000 in research funding, has contributed as an author on 19 scientifically refereed articles and seven book chapters.  Results of his research have been published in the Journal of Animal Science and the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science