Gabriella A. Varga

Gabriella A. Varga

  • University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Animal Science


  • B.S., Biology, Duquesne University 1973
  • M.S., Animal Science, University of Rhode Island, 1975
  • Ph.D., Animal Science, University of Maryland, 1978

Focus and Interests

Gabriella A. Varga is a Professor in the Department of Dairy and Animal Science at Penn State University and has been a member of the faculty since 1985. Gabriella has a research, teaching and extension appointment in the department. Her research focuses on management strategies for late gestation and early postpartum dairy cows that will minimize the incidence of periparturient metabolic disorders and enhance profitability on the dairy farm. Her research also focuses on the impact of forage sources on nitrogen balance, ammonia emission from manure, dry matter intake, nitrogen efficiency, and milk production in lactating dairy cows. Her research program incorporates basic and applied concepts to provide a mechanistic understanding of factors affecting the needs of the transition cow while providing information that can be used directly by the dairy producer. Gabriella teaches a junior and senior level dairy management and nutrition class for undergraduates and ruminant physiology for graduate students.

Gabriella will retire from Penn State University December, 2013.

Research and Professional Experience

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, West Virginia University, 1979-1982
  • Research Animal Scientist, USDA, ARS, 1982-1985
  • Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University, 1985- 1991
  • Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University, 1991-1996
  • Professor, Pennsylvania State University, 1996-present
  • University Distinguished Professor of Animal Science, Pennsylvania State University, 2001- present

Teaching Experience

  • AN SC 310 (3 credits; Spring), Dairy Cattle Production
  • AN SC 410 (4 credits; Fall), Dairy Cattle Nutrition and Management
  • AN SC 496 (1-3 credits) Independent Studies
  • AN SC 506 (3 credits; Fall), Ruminology

Membership in Professional Societies

  • American Society of Animal Science
  • American Dairy Science Association

Awards and Honors

  • National Research Council Dairy subcommittee 1997-2001
  • American Feed Industry Award, American Dairy Science Association, 2000
  • College of Agricultural Science Nesbitt Award, 2005 and 2006
  • College Outstanding Research Partners Award, 2005
  • Nutrition Professionals Award, American Dairy Science Association, 2008
  • Excellence in Advising Award, College of Agricultural Sciences, 2009

Selected Publications

  • Aldrich, J. M., L. A. Holden, L. D. Muller, and G. A. Varga. 1997. Rumen availabilities of nonstructural carbohydrate and protein estimated from in situ incubation of ingredients versus diets. Anim. Feed Sci. Tech. 63:257.
  • Varga, G. A. and E. S. Kolver. 1997. Microbial and animal limitations to fiber digestion and utilization. J. Nutr. 127:819S.
  • Lykos., T., G. A. Varga, and D. Casper. 1997. Varying degradation rates of total nonstructural carbohydrates: Effects on ruminal fermentation, blood metabolites, and milk production and composition in high producing Holstein cows. J. Dairy Sci. 80:3341-3355.
  • Lykos., T., G. A. Varga. 1997. Varying degradation rates of total nonstructural carbohydrates: Effects on nutrient uptake and utilization by the mammary gland in high producing Holstein cows. J. Dairy Sci. J. Dairy Sci. 80:3356-3367.
  • Kolver, E. S., L. D. Muller, and G. A. Varga. 1998. Ruminal utilization of pasture in response to inclusion of dietary starch. Proc. New Zeal. Soc. Anim. Prod. 57:38-41.
  • Kolver, E. S., L. D. Muller, G. A. Varga, and T. J. Cassidy. 1998. Synchronizing ruminal degradation of supplemental carbohydrate with pasture nitrogen in lactating dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 81:2017-2028.
  • Hongerholt, D. D., G. A. Varga, and L. D. Muller. 1998. Effects of feeding dried grass pasture and a grain ration differing in rumen degradable protein at two feeding frequencies on nutrient digestibility and microbial protein synthesis during continuous culture. Anim. Feed Sci. Tech. 74:1-13.
  • Putnam D. E. and G.A. Varga. 1998. Protein density and its influence on metabolite concentration and nitrogen retention in late gestation Holstein cows. J. Dairy Sci. 81:1608-1618.
  • Varga, G. A., H. M. Dann, and V. A. Ishler. 1998. Use of fiber in ration formulation. J. Dairy Sci. 81:3063-3074).
  • Putnam, D. E., G. A. Varga and H.M. Dann. 1999. Metabolic and production responses to dietary protein and exogenous somatotropin in late gestation dairy cattle. J. Dairy Sci.82: 982-995.
  • Putnam, D. E., G. A. Varga and M. Green. 1999. Glucose kinetic responses to protein supplementation and exogenous somatotropin in prepartum dairy cattle. J. Dairy Sci. 82:1274-1281.
  • Dann, H. M., G. A. Varga, and D. E. Putnam. 1999. Improving energy supply to late gestation and early postpartum dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 82:1765-1778.
  • Vázquez-Añón, M., T. Cassidy, P. McCullough, and G. A. Varga. 2000.Effects of Alimet® on nutrient digestibility, bacterial protein synthesis, and ruminal disappearance during continuous culture. J. Dairy Sci. 84:159-166.
  • Vallimont, J. E., G. A. Varga, T. W. Cassidy, A. Arieli, and K. A. Cummins. 2001. Singular and combined effects of prepartum somatotropin and monensin on metabolism and production of periparturient Holstein dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 84:2607-2621.
  • Arieli, A., J. E. Vallimont, Y. Aharoni, and G. A. Varga. 2001. Effects of monensin and growth hormone on glucose metabolism in the prepartum cow. J. Dairy Sci. 84:2770-2776.
  • G. A. Varga and R. S. Ordway. 2001. Protein and energy needs of the transition cow. Adv. in Dairy Techn. 13:29-40.
  • Ordway, R. S., V. Ishler, and G. A. Varga. 2002. Effect of fermentable carbohydrate sources on dry matter intake, milk production and blood metabolites of periparturient Holstein dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 85:879-888.
  • Bargo, F., G. A. Varga, L. D. Muller, and E. S. Kolver. 2003. Digestion of pasture only and pasture plus concentrate diets during continuous culture fermentation. J. Dairy Sci. 86:1330-1340.
  • Bargo, F., L. D. Muller, G. A. Varga, J. E. Delahoy, and T. W. Cassidy. 2003. Ruminal digestion and fermentation of high producing dairy cows with three different feeding systems combining pasture and total mixed rations. J. Dairy Sci. 85:2964-2973.
  • Arieli, A. J. E. Vallimont, S. S, Donkin, and G. A. Varga. 2003. Effects of growth hormone on adipose tissue lipogenesis in transition cows. Eur. Assoc. Anim. Prod. September, Germany.
  • Varga, G. A. 2003. Practical Ration Evaluation: Things to look for if your nutritionist is doing a good job. Adv. Dairy Techn. 15:215-226.
  • Varga, G.A. 2003. Do we need two close up dry cow groups? Adv. Dairy Techn. 15: 331-346.
  • Vallimont, J. E., F. Bargo, T. W. Cassidy, N. D. Luchini, G. A. Broderick, and G. A. Varga. 2004. Effects of replacing dietary starch with sucrose on ruminal fermentation and nitrogen metabolism in continuous culture. J. Dairy Sci.87:4221-4229.
  • Firkins, J. L., A. N. Hristov, M. B. Hall, and G. A. Varga. 2006. Integration of ruminal metabolism in dairy cattle. J. Dairy Sci. 89: E 31-51E.
  • Wheeler, E.F., P.A. Topper, G.A. Varga, N. Brown, V. Blanes-Vidal, A.J. Heinrichs, T.L. Richard. R.E. Graves and V. Ishler, G.I. Zanton, and M.L. Moody. 2006. Reducing ammonia emission from dairy housing using nutritional strategies. In Proceedings Agricultural Air Quality Workshop, Washington DC. pp. 1229-1235.
  • Wheeler, E. F., P. A. Topper, N. E. Brown and G. A. Varga. 2007. Multiple-Chamber Steady-State Gas Emission Detection from Dairy Manure Slurry. CD-ROM Proceedings of International Symposium on Air Quality and Waste Management for Agriculture. ASABE Publication Number 701P0907cd, St. Joseph, MI.
  • Williams, E. L., M.M. Pickett, G.A. Varga, and S.S. Donkin. 2007. Effect of dietary carbohydrate source and monensin on expression of gluconeogenic enzymes in liver of transition dairy cows. J. Anim. Sci. 85:690-699.
  • Y.-H. Chung, D. E. Rico, C. M. Martinez, T. W. Cassidy, V. Noirot, A. Ames, and G. A. Varga. 2007. Effects of feeding dry glycerin to early postpartum Holstein dairy cows on lactational performance and metabolic profiles. J. Dairy Sci. 90: 5682-5691.
  • M. Bionaz, C. R. Baumrucker, E. Shirk, J. P. Vanden Heuvel, E. Block, and G. A. Varga. 2008. Characterization of Mardi-Darby Bovine Kidney cell line for PPARs: Temporal Response and Sensitivity to Fatty Acids. J. Dairy Sci. J. Dairy Sci. 91:2802-2813.

    Chung,Y.-H., Pickett, M.M., T. W. Cassidy, and G. A. Varga. 2008. Effects of Prepartum Dietary Carbohydrate Source and Monensin on Periparturient Metabolism and Lactation in Multiparous Cows. J. Dairy Sci. J. Dairy Sci. 91:2744-2758.

    Toshniwal, J. K., C. D. Dechow, B. G. Cassell, J. A. D. R. N. Appuhamy, and G. A. Varga. 2008. Heritability of electronically recorded daily body weight and correlations with yield, dry matter intake and body condition score. J Dairy Sci. 91:3201-3210.

    Broderick, G. A., N. D. Luchini, S. M. Reynal, G. A. Varga, and V. A. Ishler. 2008. Effect on production of replacing dietary starch with sucrose in lactating dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 91:4801-4810.

    Martinez, C. M., Y.-H. Chung, V. A. Ishler, K. W. Bailey, and G. A. Varga. 2009. Effects of dietary forage level and monensin on lactation performance, digestibility and fecal excretion of nutrients, and efficiency of feed nitrogen utilization of Holstein dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 92: 3211-3221.

    Chung, Y. –H., N. E. Brown, C. M. Martinez, T. W. Cassidy, and G. A. Varga. 2009.Effects of rumen-protected choline and dry propylene glycol on feed intake and blood parameters for Holstein dairy cows in early lactation. J Dairy Sci. 92: 2729-2736.

    Chung, Y.-H., I. D. Girard, and G. A. Varga. 2009. Effects of feeding dry propylene glycol to early postpartum Holstein dairy cows on production and metabolic profiles. Animal  (In Press).

    Markantonatos, X., Y. Aharoni, L.F. Richardson, and G.A. Varga. 2009. Effects of monensin on Volatile Fatty Acid metabolism in periparturient dairy cows using compartmental analysis, Anim. Feed Sci. Techn. (In Press).