Graduate Student Profiles and Projects
Amanda Van De Kerckhove - Successfuly Defended!

Amanda Van De Kerckhove grew up in Moosomin, SK. She obtained her BSA in the spring of 2007 at the University of Saskatchewan, majoring in Animal Science. She began her M.Sc. project in September 2007 under the supervision of Dr. Bart Lardner. Her project is evaluating the use of DDGS as a supplement for beef cows consuming low quality forages. The driving factors for this research are the increased use of low quality forages in beef cow diets and the potential for an abundant of DDGS in Western Canada as a result of the expanding ethanol industry. Because low quality forages are characterized by a high fibre, low protein content, supplementation is often required to meet cows' nutritional requirements. The nutritional properties of DDGS has created interest in using DDGS as a supplement in beef cow rations.


To compare DDGS to traditional protein and energy supplements, two experiments are taking place at the Western Beef Development Centre's Termuende Research Ranch. Experiment I manages the cows on stockpiled crested wheatgrass pasture in the fall, while experiment II manages the cows in an extensive barley straw-chaff wintering system. In addition to the field work, metabolic trials at the University of Saskatchewan's Livestock Research Barn will take place in the summer of 2008 to determine effects on forage digestibility as a result of DDGS supplementation.

Waldo Nuez - Successfuly Defended!

Waldo Nuez was born in Spain, where he studied and received a degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2003. After collaborating on several animal nutrition-related projects in Argentina and France, and working as a veterinarian in Spain and the USA, he began a Master's program in ruminant nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan in September 2007.

Currently, Waldo is looking at the differences among different types of DDGS and how these differences will affect nutrient supply and consequently, animal performance. His project involves determination of chemical analysis values, energy values and CNPCS fractions, protein intestinal digestion estimation, rumen protein values, fiber fermentation and kinetics, protein and energy ratios, and comparison between the NRC and the Dutch DVE-OEB models of nutrient evaluation.

Waldo was recently awarded a scholarship by Land O'Lakes Purina at the 12th Annual Distillers Grain Symposium for his research work.



Felipe Reveco Successfuly Defended!


Felipe Reveco is from Chile. He completed his degree in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Chile in 2003. After that, most of his career has been dedicated to work in the poultry industry as a veterinarian. Felipe came to the University of Saskatchewan in 2008 to begin a M.Sc. program looking at the use of wheat DDGS as a feed ingredient in aquaculture diets.

The use of DDGS as an alternative ingredient for aquaculture is controversial due to its low protein and high fibre content. Accordingly, this project is focused on improving the nutritional value of wheat DDGS for aquaculture by producing wheat DDGS protein concentrates using dry and aqueous fractionation methods. This project focuses primarily on nutrient digestibility and growth performance studies in rainbow trout.








Renee Beliveau

Renee Beliveau grew up on a small mixed animal farm west of Edmonton, Alberta. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Alberta in 2004. In 2004 Renee worked for the Alberta Provincial Government on a one year internship for 4-H. In May 2005, she moved to Saskatoon to work with Dr. J. McKinnon on her Masters in Ruminant Nutrition looking at the effects of graded levels of wheat-based distillers' grains with solubles on the growth performance, carcass characteristics and rumen fermentation. In August of 2008, Renee completed her Masters and started directly into her Ph.D. programme with Drs. T. McAllister of the Lethbridge Research Station, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and J. McKinnon at the University of Saskatchewan. During the course of her Ph.D., Renee will be looking at the changes in rumen microbial populations of finishing steers undergoing sub-acute ruminal acidosis using wheat-based distillers' grains as a model.

Lee-Anne Walter - Successfuly Defended!

Lee-Anne Walter was raised on a grain and cattle operation near Lampman, Saskatchewan. She received her BSA in animal science from the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan in the spring of 2007. After taking the summer off to help with calving as well as to backpack across Europe she started her M.Sc. in ruminant nutrition under the supervision of Dr. John McKinnon. Her project aims to compare wheat DDGS (dried distillers' grains with solubles) to corn DDGS in feedlot cattle diets in terms of: 1. finishing performance and carcass quality; 2. rumen fermentation parameters in heifers fed either wheat or corn DDGS; 3. digestibility of DDGS in finishing diets; 4. environmental impact of elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from feeding DDGS.
A side-be side comparison of the two feedstuff is important for the marketability of wheat based DDGS in a marketplace heavily saturated with corn DDGS. The research is also imperative to livestock producers who face rising cereal grain prices and must turn to by-product feed for cost-effective feeding.
Lee-Anne has received a scholarship from the Canadian Wheat Board to complete this project.

Alin Friedt

Alin Gannon grew up on a commercial cattle operation near Gouldtown, Sasatchewan. She received her BSA in Animal Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 2009. She then began an Msc. in ruminat nutrition under the supervision of Dr. John McKinnon. Her project will look at feeding wheat milling byproducts to cattle. Evaluating if wheat bran alone or in combination with other byproducts such as liquid whey can sucessfully replace barley grain in diets for backgrounding calves.

Leah Clark

Leah Clark grew up in Saskatoon, SK. Her Passion for beef nutrition is largely due to the time she spent on her family farm located near Asquith, Sk. She obtained her BSA in the spring of 2009 and immediately started working at Western Beef Development Center Tremunde Research Ranch Located in Lanigan, Sk. for the summer. She began her M.Sc. under the supervision of Dr. Bart Lardner in September 2009. Her research is, evaluating the use of wheat DDGS compared to traditional supplements used in extensive backgrounding scenarios. Wheat DDGS will be compared to barley in three experiments. The first experiment is supplementing calves on spring pasture, the second is supplementing calves while bale grazing, and the third is supplementing calves on fall pasture.


Samat Amat

Samat Amat was raised on a small mixed farm in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. He obtained his B.Sc. in Animal Science from Xinjiang Agricultural University in July 2005. Upon completion of his M.Sc. in Ruminant Nutrition at the same university in 2008, he joined a Canadian international development project called “Livestock Health Extension Services Project”. It is sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Much of this project work was in rural Xinjiang. He worked with Canadian veterinarians associated with this project and was involved with training farmers, livestock workers and veterinarians.

Samat came to University of Saskatchewan in September 2009 and started his M.Sc. project under the supervision of Drs. Steve Hendrick and John McKinnon. His project is mainly focused on investigating the effects of wheat DDGS on the animal health of feedlot cattle. It involves looking at the prevalence of polioencephalomalacia (PEM), ruminitis, and laminitis in the yearling feedlot cattle fed wheat DDGS . PEM is associated with increased concentrations of sulfur in the animal’s diet and water. Wheat DDGS may have a high concentration of sulfur and therefore has a significant potential to induce PEM in beef cattle. This project also evaluates the sulfur metabolism in beef cattle fed wheat DDGS. Understanding rumenal sulfide production, H2S concentration in the rumen gas gap and serum sulfate levels, etc, in beef cattle fed graduated levels of wheat DDGS is very important as we attempt to further understand the role wheat DDGS plays in the production of PEM.

Bo Liu

Bo Liu was born in China. In 2008, Bo obtained his BSA (Animal Science) from College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agriculture University, Beijing. After one year’s technique internship in his father’s feed factory in Harbin city, Northeast China, he started his M.Sc. program in September 2009, under the supervision of Dr. Peiqiang Yu. He will conduct an in depth study of the relationship of protein molecular structure and physicochemical properties to the metabolic characteristics of proteins in the new co-products of bio-ethanol production. He will study the protein molecular structures in the new co-products in comparison with the original grain, its effect on the nutrient availability, and the possibility of using protein molecular structure as an indicator to evaluate the absorbed protein value.
In his study, he will be using two molecular spectroscopy techniques: advanced synchrotron microspectroscopy and DRIFT molecular spectroscopy, with chemometrics to analyze the protein molecular structure along with conventional protein evaluation techniques.

Rachel Claassen

Rachel Claassen was born and raised on a dairy farm in central Saskatchewan. Her participation in an agricultural exchange allowed her to spend a year working on dairy farms in New Zealand, experiencing a different approach to dairy operations and practices. Those experiences encouraged her to pursue her education in animal science within the College of Agriculture. Rachel received her BSA from the University of Saskatchewan in 2009. She is concentrating her MSc studies on dairy nutrition under the supervision of Dr Tim Mutsvangwa. Her research involves incorporating extruded versus non-extruded wheat dried distillers grains with solubles into dairy rations to evaluate the protein quality and potential production benefits.

Maria Rosario (Charie) Mosqueda

Maria Rosario (Charie) Mosqueda, is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering. She is presentaly on study leave from the Department of Agriculture Engineering at Xavier University, Philippines. She obtained her B.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering at Xavier University in 1990, her Ms.c in Agricultureal Engineering from the University of Georgia in 2006 and M.Eng. in Quality Management from RMIT, Melbourne, Australia. Charie started her Ph.D. in June 2009 under the supervision of Dr. Lope Tabil. She is particularly examining some of the challenges currently confronting DDGS supply chain actors (energy-intensive drying process, inconsistent product quality, poor flowability and high logistics cost, among others).

Her Ph.D. research project looks into improving drying efficiency and product handling characteristics of DDGS while ensuring its optimal nutritional integrity as an animal feed ingredient. The project examines the physico-chemical, drying and flow characteristics of wheat DDGS under varying conditions and uses this baseline information in evaluating drying technologies, densification and other flowability improving measures vis-a-vis energy efficiency, cost competitveness and optimal nutrient composition.

Gwinyai Chibisa

Gwinyai Chibisa is from Zimbabwe. He completed his Bachelor of Science (honours) degree in Animal Science from the University of Zimbabwe in 2005. In fall 2005, Gwinyai joined the Master of Science program in ruminant nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan. His research focused on determining the effect of periparturient propylene glycol supplementation on nitrogen metabolism, body composition, and gene expression for the major proteolytic systems in sleletal muscle in transition dairy cows. After completing the MSc program in March 2008, Gwinyai joined the Doctor of Philosophy program in Animal Science under the supervision of Dr. Tim Mutsvangwa. Gwinyai’s research is focused on developing nutritional strategies that will optimize the use of wheat-based dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS) in diets for high-producing dairy cows in an economically- and environmentally-sustainable manner.

Inoka Hettiarachchi Gamage

Inoka Hettiarachchi Gamage was born in Sri Lanka and completed her degree in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science at the University of Peradeniya in year 2002. There after she worked as a veterinary surgeon and a breeder manager in Poultry Breeding. She moved to Canada with her family as a permanent resident in Canada in 2009. Then she began her Masters program with Dr. Peiqiang Yu in June 2009 at the University of Saskatchewan. Her project is “Structural, Chemical and Nutrient Characterization of Original Feedstock and Co-Products from a newly build biofuel Plant in Saskatchewan”.




Yun Qi Sun


Yun Qi Sun is a graduate student from China. She received her B.Sc. degree in 2008 at Northeast Agricultural University. Qi came to the University of Alberta in August 2009, and currently works on a research project to investigate the feeding values of DDGS as an energy source for dairy cows in early lactation under the supervision of Dr. Masahito Oba. Her research will evaluate the impact of carbohydrate source (starch from barley grain vs. fibre from DDGS) on rumen fermentation and blood metabolites.







Lane Stoll


Lane Stoll grew up on a small family farm outside of Neudorf, SK. He obtained his BSA from the University of Saskatchewan in the winter of 2009. He began his M.Sc. project in January 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Phyllis Shand in the Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences. The objective of his project is to characterize the eating quality of beef fed wheat and corn-based distillers grains. Further, he will also evaluate the influence of animal diet on quality and oxidative stability of value-added meat products