Dr. Ben Corl serves as the Interim Department Head for the Department of Dairy Science. He completed a B.S. in Biochemistry at Virginia Tech, a Ph.D. at Cornell University, and a post-doc at North Carolina State University. He joined the faculty of the Department of Dairy Science in 2005. His research interests focus on milk synthesis in the mammary gland of dairy cows. Through his studies, Dr. Corl hopes to improve the efficiency and welfare of animals as well as improve the food products derived from them. Currently, his lab group studies the local regulation of milk synthesis in dairy cows. Through his previous research in lipid metabolism, Dr. Corl also maintains on-going research on the synthesis of monounsaturated fatty acids in nervous tissues.
Through advances in genetic selection and management, milk production of dairy cows has greatly increased. The number of mammary epithelial cells and their activity level determine the daily milk production of a dairy cow, and so we are interested in factors that influence the number and activity of mammary epithelial cells. It is apparent that some of the regulation of milk synthesis is controlled locally within the mammary gland. We are examining how this local control can be used to increase the efficiency of milk production and how it is mediated within the mammary gland.
We have spent several years studying stearoyl-CoA desaturase-5, a gene that is found in most mammals, including humans, but not found in rodent genomes. The expression pattern of this gene differs considerably from stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1, an enzyme closely associated with fatty acid synthesis and storage. Stearoyl-CoA desaturase-5 is expressed predominantly in nervous tissues, but its role in the normal function of these tissues is unclear. Our research efforts focus on describing the function of this enzyme in nervous tissues and examining its potential role in disease states.
B.S. 1997 Virginia Tech
Ph.D. 2003 Cornell University
Andrea Lengi, Research & Lab Specialist
Haylee Hanling, MS Student
Mark Ellett, Research Assistant
Kavita Bushong, Research Assistant
Caleb Van Buren, Research Assistant
American Dairy Science Association
Dr. Ben Corl
Graduate Program Chair
Interim Department Head
2020 Litton-Reaves Hall
175 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Area of Expertise