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Lauren Hansen

Position/Title: M.Sc. by thesis
email: lhanse01@uoguelph.ca

I received my Bachelor of Science in Agriculture here at the University of Guelph in 2018, majoring in Animal Science. While completing my undergrad, I worked on a project with Dr. Angela Canovas that focused on identifying genomic regions and functional single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with bull fertility. As well, I volunteered in multiple labs where I gained a passion for research and a drive studying nutrition. While assisting in Dr. Lee-Anne Huber’s lab, I was inspired to pursue a graduate program in swine research specifically. 

In January of 2019, I began my MS.c. thesis in monogastric animal nutrition with Dr. Huber. My trial is focusing on swine nutrition – analyzing growth performance, feed efficiency, carcass and meat quality, and immune robustness in the offspring of precision and control fed sows. My project is an extension of Victoria Stewart’s MS.c. thesis, where I am raising the piglets from sows fed either a commercial diet, or a nutrient specific diet formulated to meet their daily protein needs as it differs throughout gestation. For three parities, I am following the pigs from weaning until market weight to track any significant difference in their performance by accessing their feed intake and weekly weight gain. Once the pigs reach approximately 125kg, their meat and carcass quality is evaluated with a series of subjective and objective tests after slaughter. 

When my trial concludes in July of 2020, I am hoping my results will help focus further research into the significance of maternal nutrition during gestation for optimal fetal development and its impact on swine production. The importance of this study is to improve pig welfare and reduce industry costs to producers by optimizing a pig’s growth performance, feed efficiency, immune robustness and meat quality. Following my research, I hope to find a career in the swine industry or continue my education.  

Aside from academia, I thoroughly enjoy spending time with my German Shepherd Hank in my hometown of Waterdown, reading, and volunteering with other projects at the Arkell Research Station.