2011 Early Investigator Researcher Award: Bob Schnabel
Recent advances in animal genomics have changed the way that dairy and livestock producers select the animals they use in their breeding programs. BOB SCHNABEL, assistant research professor of animal sciences, has had a big hand in helping them make those changes.
Working with Jerry Taylor, MU's Wurdack Chair of Animal Genomics, they have developed one of the most highly recognized laboratories working on the identification of genes associated with variation in economically important traits in the world's animal production.
By helping identify the molecular markers for important traits such as growth, meat quality, feed efficiency, fertility and milk production, Schnabel is providing the cattle industry with tools and strategies they can use in breeding and management programs.
Schnabel has been instrumental in the conception, design and development of a technological breakthrough called the Bovine 50K SNP Chip — the "Snip Chip" — which allows researchers to examine 50,000 cattle DNA markers simultaneously. He's also leading the efforts to expand that capability to an 800K chip.
"BOB SCHNABEL IS A RISING INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTAR WHO HAS ALREADY DISTINGUISHED HIMSELF AND IS CLEARLY WELL POISED TO ASSUME A MAJOR LEADERSHIP ROLE IN ANIMAL GENETICS. IT IS CLEAR THAT HIS ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE HAVE ALREADY BROUGHT CONSIDERABLE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI."
—Lawrence Schook, professor of genomic biology at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
"This new resource will have tremendous impacts on discovery and the extension of those discoveries to animal agriculture across the globe," says Daniel Pomp, professor of genetics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. "Schnabel's research is big, relevant, important and doable on a scale that is truly unique and innovative."
Schnabel is one of the key players involved with the next generation of sequencing technology, which will allow scientists to revolutionize livestock genetics, says Rodney Geisert, director of Mizzou's animal sciences division.
"His collaborations with other academic laboratories, with industry and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have made Dr. Schnabel's research activities part of the global epicenter of animal genomics research," Geisert says.