Yahan Li, who recently earned his PhD in Animal Sciences, received the William R. Lamberson Distinguished Dissertation Award at CAFNR’s 2023 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held April 11. His advisor is Rocio Rivera, professor of animal sciences; she was also recognized as part of the ceremony.
Li first came to CAFNR in 2016 as a master’s student and quickly impressed both his advisor and other faculty he collaborated with. He was offered a spot as a PhD candidate in 2018 and made many valuable contributions to the Developmental Epigenetics Laboratory during his time at CAFNR.
These contributions include authorship of seven peer-reviewed publications, including three as first author in high-impact, international journals. He authored or co-authored three book chapters and gave six scientific oral presentations. Li was recognized with multiple awards including the USDA-NIFA-AFRI Merit Award — a highly-competitive, national award — and selection as a finalist for the Society for the Study of Reproduction Trainee Award.
Li’s dissertation, “Involvement of aberrant chromosome architecture and locus-specific vulnerability to DNA methylation epimutations in bovine large offspring syndrome,” utilized cutting-edge genomics and epigenetics sequencing tools and techniques. His research project set forth to identify how changes in DNA methylation patterns alter the 3-dimensional structure of the genome, thereby influencing gene expression.
“Without a doubt, Yahan will continue to represent Mizzou and CAFNR with honor during his professional career, one expected to be quite fruitful,” said Rivera.
“Over the six years I have known him, he has proven himself to be among the best graduate students I’ve interacted with, and I have no doubt he will be as successful and productive in his scientific career as he was during his graduate studies,” said Darren E. Hagen, assistant professor of animal science at Oklahoma State University and former CAFNR faculty member.