Expanded animal reproduction research facility officially opens

Research on livestock reproduction has been given a boost through the expansion and remodeling of one of the country's top facilities - the LSU AgCenter's Embryo Biotechnology Laboratory.

An open house and dedication of the facility's new William Hansel Conference Room was held May 26.

The Embryo Biotechnology Laboratory, which was expanded to 10,000 square feet, is part of the newly created Reproductive Biology Center. The center also includes support facilities and pastures.

Research at the center focuses on developing both basic and applied assisted reproductive technologies for use in livestock improvement, biomedical applications, and propagation of exotic and endangered species, according to Richard Denniston, the center's director.

Many " firsts" in animal reproduction history have occurred at the center since its establishment in the early 1970s by Robert Godke, LSU Boyd Professor of Animal Sciences.

One of the latest was announced during the May 26 activities. Godke told a group of journalists that one of his graduate students has successfully produced a calf using sperm from a dead bull.

A "first" announced in 2003 was the successful cloning of a Brahman using a cryo-preserved oocyte thawed with a super-cold gel, which prevents the problem of cell destruction from ice crystals.

LSU AgCenter scientists collaborate with scientists from other institutions, including Pennington Biomedical Research Center, also in Baton Rouge. One of the Pennington researchers is William Hansel, who also has a joint appointment with the LSU AgCenter.

Hansel's research activities span four decades and include many accomplishments. One of his latest is developing a drug that attaches to and destroys the membrane of prostate, breast, ovarian and testicular cancer cells.

Although professing pride in the breakthroughs in cancer research, he acknowledged at the dedication ceremony that the main focus of research in animal sciences needs to continue to be helping the farmer and rancher with livestock productivity.

(This article appeared in the summer 2004 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)

4/5/2005 1:15:04 AM
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