Photo of Dr. Phllip Myer 

 

     

Dr. Phillip Myer

Assistant Professor

 

Teaching

ANSC 535 - Ruminology

 

Contact

2506 River Drive
355 Brehm Animal Science Building
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
Phone:(865) 974-3184
Fax: (865) 974-7297
email: pmyer@utk.edu
Twitter: @RumenMicroLab
Ruminant Gut Microbe of the Month

 

 

Education  

Postdoctoral Research Associate, USDA-ARS, Nutrition and Environmental Management Research Unit, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE, 2013-2015  

Ph.D., Microbiology, Purdue University, 2013   

B.S., Biology Pre-professional, Bradley University, 2008   

Appointment: Research 85% |Teaching 15%

Professional Interest:  Rumen Microbiology

Photo collage of Dr. Myer's research 
The nutritional status of beef cattle and other ruminants is influenced by many factors, including diet, management, host genetics, and the diverse symbiotic microbiota colonizing the gastrointestinal tract (GIT).  Overall, nutrition is determined by a complex interplay of these factors; for example, host genetics may influence the diversity and content of the GIT microbiome, which in turn may affect the efficiency of feed utilization.  Also, type and volume of feedstuffs consumed affect the nutritional supply to the GIT microbes, the end products synthesized, and the subsequent nutrients absorbed by the host.  Examination of each major factor, from diet to microbiota, contributes to a comprehensive understanding of ruminant nutrition, which impacts livestock production systems, resource consumption, and the economic viability of agricultural enterprises.  Presently, feed costs account for approximately two-thirds of total beef production costs, and of the calories consumed in the cow-calf segment, more than half are used for maintenance (National program for the genetic improvement of feed efficiency in beef cattle).  Research examining the nutritional status of the ruminant with the aim of optimizing efficiency of feed utilization is therefore of increasing importance as the cost of beef cattle production rises.  Currently, there is insufficient study of the effect of GIT microbial population dynamics on host productivity to develop strategies for improving efficiency, especially with regard to the functional associations of microbial profiles.  To this end, Dr. Myer's research program is primarily focused on 1) biological mechanisms explaining differences in feed efficiency in beef cattle, 2) nutrition of grazing beef cattle, including forage intake, diet composition, nutrient requirements, supplementation, and interactions with the ruminal and lower GIT microbial communities, and 3) the establishment of the rumen microbiome and its effects on growing beef cattle.  Efforts to address these research interests include strategies focusing on the relationships between the microbial populations of the GIT and diet, management, and host genetics using physiological, molecular, and microbiological techniques and measurements.  Ultimately, these data will be used to improve the nutritional status of ruminants, specifically with regard to feed efficiency, which has the potential to benefit agricultural, industrial, and environmental sectors. 

Selected Publications 

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