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Dr. Adel Moawad working in his lab.  Image by Rebecca Miller, Fort Valley State University.

Fort Valley State University Project Is Building Reproductive Technology Capacities

Nifa Authors
Margaret Lawrence, Writer-Editor

Both goats and sheep which are small ruminants have potential for meat and milk production to help feed a growing world population. 

Supported by a grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) research and teaching facility at Fort Valley State University is building ART workforce capacity. Led by FVSU animal scientist Dr. Adel Moawad, the lab is providing opportunities for underrepresented students to train and pursue careers in ART. 

Dr. Adel Moawad working in his lab.  Image by Rebecca Miller, Fort Valley State University.
Dr. Adel Moawad working in his lab.  Image by Rebecca Miller, Fort Valley State University. 

“ARTs are not as well developed on sheep and goat when compared to cattle, and there is a room for further improvement,” Moawad said. “A strong, well-trained workforce in the agricultural and biomedical sciences is essential to feed the growing population.”   

The project, which is Moawad’s first NIFA grant as a lead primary investigator, takes an integrated approach, and brings together research, teaching and Extension components. Currently, he leads a team of about ten undergraduates and graduate students. 

“The work our students are doing will help them complete their undergraduate and graduate degree and ultimately pursue a career in areas such as embryology, animal reproduction and biotechnology,” he said. 

One of Moawad’s first graduate students on the project, which is supported by an 1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants (CBG) Program, has completed her master’s degree and is now working with a company which provides reproductive technologies to livestock breeders looking to improve herd or flock genetics. 

“NIFA’s 1890 CBG programs helps 1890 Land-grant Institutions to advance cultural diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by workforce training in the food and agricultural sciences,” said Dr. Rizana Mahroof, NIFA’s 1890 CBG national program leader. “Dr. Moawad’s research at Fort Valley State University, funded through the 1890 CBG Program, represents an integrated approach in training and educating undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups while exploring innovative research and extension methods to improve reproductive technology in small ruminants.” 

As part of the project’s research component, Moawad and his team are investigating how the amino acid L-carnitine as a dietary supplement can improve the quality and fertility of goat and sheep semen. Additionally, the team is working to determine if L-carnitine supplementation can improve the viability and fertilizing ability of frozen/thawed semen. 

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Animal health and production and animal products
U.S. States and Territories

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