Dr. Arnold Saxton 




Dr. Arnold M. Saxton Professor




2506 River Drive
232 Brehm Animal Science Building
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
Phone: (865) 974-2887
Fax: (865) 974-7297
email: asaxton@utk.edu
Website: Stats Design & Analysis Web Guide




Ph.D.,North Carolina State University,Animal Breeding,1983

M.S.,University of Washington,Fisheries,1980

B.S.,University of Miami (FL),Biology/Chemistry,1977


Appointment: 40% Research

Professional Interest: Statistics, Genomics

images of Dr. Saxton 

Statistics is an area of science focused on making objective scientific inferences from “noisy” research data. Noisy data has variation from a variety of sources that makes it difficult to decide what is real.As animal scientists, we want to know what diets increase growth, what medicines improve health, what management strategies or drugs improve pregnancy rates. But if a diet is fed to one pen, and those pigs are 2% heavier than other pens, is that due to the diet, or to other factors such as breed, crowding, age, sub-clinical disease, etc? Statistics provides a mathematical process to separate out the effects of diet, and measures our confidence in the result.

I am specifically interested in statistics applied to genetic questions, but also am interested in statistical problems across all of agriculture.If you enjoy computers and programming, if you have done well in math classes, if working indoors rather than outside is appealing, you might consider a statistically oriented career.There has been a long tradition of agricultural scientists making important contributions in the statistics arena.R. A. Fisher worked at an Ag. Research Station in England in the early 1900’s, and developed many of the fundamental statistical tools and concepts (Fisher Collected Works). C. R. Henderson was a dairy scientist at Iowa State University in the mid-1900’s who created mixed models, currently revolutionizing statistical methods (Henderson Contributions).And the next revolution is predicted to be Bayesian statistics, with extensive contributions from Dan Gianola, a dairy scientist at the University of Wisconsin (Bayesian statistics). You could be next!

The publications below give a small sampling of the range of my statistical research applications. New methods for genomic data are proposed yearly, making it a challenge to test them for advantages and disadvantages, as well as utilize them for scientific discovery.Once genes are identified, the next goal is to understand how they work together in biochemical networks to produce functional changes (a small network is illustrated, each circle being a gene, possibly working with other genes).Ultimately systems biology will construct (statistical) models that describe the interrelationships of genes, proteins, metabolites, and tissues.This better understanding of how the whole animal operates should improve strategies for making our animals healthier and more productive.

Selected Publications

  • Pinchot C, Clark S, Schlarbaum S, Saxton AM, Sung S-J, Hebard F. Effects of temporal dynamics, nut weight and nut size on growth of American chestnut, Chinese chestnut and backcross generations in a commercial nursery. Forests (in press)

  • Fallen, B. D.; Allen, F. L.; Kopsell, D. A.; Saxton, A. M.; McHale, L.; Shannon, J. G.; Kantartzi, S. K.; Cardinal, A. J.; Cregan, P. B.; Hyten, D. L. & Pantalone, V. R. (2015), Selective Genotyping for Marker Assisted Selection Strategies for Soybean Yield Improvement, Plant Genetics, Genomics, and Biotechnology 2(1), 95-119. http://dx.doi.org/10.5147/pggb.2015.0145

  • Cekanova M, Fernando RI, Siriwardhana N, Sukhthankar M, Parra C, Woraratphoka J, Malone C, Ström A, Baek SJ, Wade PA, Saxton AM, Donnell RM, Pestell RG, Dharmawardhane S, Wimalasena J. BCL-2 family protein, BAD is down-regulated in breast cancer and inhibits cell invasion. Exp Cell Research (2015) 331(1): 1-10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yexcr.2014.11.016

  • MA Langston, RS Levine, BJ Kilbourne, GL Rogers, Jr., AD Kershenbaum, SH Baktash, SS Coughlin, AM Saxton, VA Agboto, DB Hood, MY Litchveld, TJ Oyana, P Matthews-Juarez and PD Juarez. Scalable Combinatorial Tools for Health Disparities Research. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2014. 11(10): 10419-10443 http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph111010419

  • RM Augé, HD Toler and AM Saxton. Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis alters stomatal conductance of host plants more under drought than under amply watered conditions: a meta-analysis. Mycorrhiza (2015) 25(1): 13-24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00572-014-0585-4

  • B Ji, JL Middleton, B Ernest , AM Saxton, SJ Lamont, SR Campagna, BH Voy. Molecular and metabolic profiles suggest that increased lipid catabolism in adipose tissue contributes to leanness in domestic chickens. Physiological Genomics (2014) 46: 315-327 http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/physiolgenomics.00163.2013

Book Chapters

2014. Ashworth, A. J.; Allen, F. L.; Wight, J. P.; Saxton, AM and Tyler, D. D. 2014. Long-Term Soil Organic Carbon Changes as Affected by Crop Rotation and Bio-covers in No-Till Crop Systems, in Alfred E. Hartemink & Kevin McSweeney, Ed., 'Soil Carbon', Springer International Publishing, pp. 271-279.http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-04084-4_28