Students Win International Competition

May 20, 2010 - News Release

Two University of Guelph students have won the 2010 Alltech Young Scientist Award competition for their animal science research. Undergraduate student Lee-Anne Huber and graduate student Michael Steele were chosen from among 5,000 competitors worldwide. The results were announced Wednesday during the 26th International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium in Lexington, Ky.

The annual competition invites students from colleges and universities around the globe to submit scientific papers aimed at finding natural solutions to animal health challenges. Competitors are judged on their research and presentations.

The Guelph students competed against the top students from Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific Region. The prizes were $5,000 for the undergraduate category and $10,000 for graduate student presentations.

Huber won for her paper on the amino acids isoleucine and lysine found in pig feed and the ratio of each that is required for animals to reach their maximum performance. “This competition was an amazing learning experience,” she said. The Kenilworth, Ont., native is continuing her Guelph studies in a master’s program in swine nutrition.

Steele, who grew up near Thamesford, Ont., and completed both undergraduate and master’s degrees in U of G’s Ontario Agricultural College, is currently enrolled in a PhD program in animal nutrition. His research examined how rumen tissue gene expression in cattle responds to dramatic shifts in dietary grain. “Discussing my research with the world’s best agricultural scientists present at this meeting has made this one of the most exciting weeks of my life,” he said.

Inge Russell, director of the Young Scientist Program, called Huber and Steele “outstanding examples of young scientists with an ability to communicate their research both to other scientists and to the public.” She also praised their dedication and passion for research.

Alltech is a global company that produces natural feed supplements.

Huber and Steele won the preceding North American competition in April. To qualify for that event, they had to place in the top three at the Canadian competition. U of G students dominated the national competition, capturing five of the six top spots.

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