A federal grant is making it possible for a Fort Valley State University scientist to conduct technologically advanced research designed to enhance meat and milk production in goats.
Dr. Mahipal Singh, a FVSU associate professor of animal biotechnology, recently received a $100,000 grant as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 1890 Faculty Research Fellowship award program.
The program, part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), allows scientists from 1890 Land-Grant universities like FVSU, to work with USDA-ARS scientists on various research projects concerning plants and animals at USDA research facilities.
Singh’s research focus is the enhancement of goat meat and milk production by working with their genomes (DNA) and embryos. Singh also hopes to develop goats that are free of allergens harmful to humans and mastitis (infections) which affects goats’ ability to produce milk.
Moreover, small farmers in the future may also benefit from Singh’s work. He projects that the research results may produce genetically modified animals, and once they are tested for mastitis and the milk is determined to be allergen free, the animals will be bred and hopefully produce a large population.
“That population can be distributed to the farmers and the farmers can rear (raise) those animals,” Singh said.
The animal biotechnology professor will conduct some of his research at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), the USDA’s largest research facility, in Beltsville, Md.
Singh chose the BARC location to perform his research because of an earlier collaboration with Dr. David Donovan, senior molecular biologist at the facility.
In addition to working with goats, Singh said the research opportunity provided through the grant opens the door for FVSU to develop close relationships with the USDA, staff at the BARC and scientists on a global scale. Singh said those factors could also lead to collaboration on future research projects.
Singh also mentioned that FVSU has sufficient resources for goat research. He said once FVSU scientists get experience in modifying genomes and embryos, the university will be at the forefront of biotechnology research.
“We will not only attract the top scientists from the U.S., but also from Asia, Africa and countries from around the world,” Singh said.
For one year, funds from the grant will cover several expenses for Singh such as salary, travel, living accommodations and research supplies.
For more information about Dr. Mahipal Singh’s research, contact Singh at (478) 822-7042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.