Squires Named University of Kentucky Equine Initiative Director

Ed Squires, PhD, Dipl. ACT (hon.), executive director of the UK Gluck Equine Research Foundation, the director of advancement and industry relations at the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, and a pioneer in equine research, has been named the University of Kentucky Equine Initiative director and Dickson Professor of Equine Science and Management. Squires will begin working in this role April 1.

Squires takes over leadership of the initiative, an umbrella program for all things equine within UK's College of Agriculture, from James MacLeod, VMD, PhD, John S. and Elizabeth A. Knight chair and professor of veterinary science at the Gluck Center.

"UK's equine program is uniquely positioned to become one of the prominent equine programs in the world," Squires said. "I look forward to this new challenge and building upon the strong base developed by the previous leadership.

"Having spent more than 30 years in an equine sciences program and being involved in teaching, research, and outreach has prepared me well for this position. One of my strengths is facilitating people to work together," Squires added.

Squires will split his time equally between this position and his current role as executive director of the UK Gluck Equine Research Foundation and director of advancement and industry relations. He will also continue as editor of the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.

UK's equine stakeholders were widely supportive of Squires' new position.

"I think it is a win-win for both Gluck and the Equine Initiative," said David Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, UK Equine Advisory Committee member, and Gluck Equine Research Foundation Board member. "Ed was involved in the initial development of the Colorado State University equine program, and his fundraising for the Gluck Equine Research Center has been successful in the short time he has been here. Anytime you can get someone with his breadth of experience, it's important to take advantage of it."

"Dr. Squires brings a proven reputation of excellence coupled with vision for teaching, research, and service," said Norm Luba, executive director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council and chair of the UK Equine Advisory Committee. "That vision will be propelled by the tremendous team effort that has built a foundation for excellence in equine programming at the University of Kentucky,"

Squires is a Morgantown, W.Va., native who received his bachelor's and master's degrees from West Virginia University and his doctorate in endocrinology and reproductive physiology at the University of Wisconsin. From 1976 to 2008, Squires was a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University.

He also is a pioneer in developing embryo transfer techniques. His other research areas include reproductive endocrinology of the nonpregnant and pregnant mare, hormonal regulation of the estrous cycle, and preservation of stallion semen. His most recent research has centered on development of assisted reproductive techniques such as oocyte collection and transfer, oocyte maturation, in vitro fertilization, embryo freezing, superovulation, and sexed semen.

Squires' research efforts have resulted in 265 refereed publications, 254 nonrefereed publications, 29 book chapters, 14 books, and 118 articles. He has lectured extensively to national and international veterinary and scientific groups and horse breeders.

Squires has received numerous awards and honors for his research, including the Oliver P. Pennock Distinguished Service Award; the George Stubbs Award; Animal Physiology and Endocrinology Award; and Horse Person of the Year Award from the Colorado Horse Council. He was inducted into UK's Gluck Equine Research Foundation Equine Research Hall of Fame in 2007.

"Ed has made major contributions to reproductive science in horses that have resulted in new products on the market," said Scott Smith, dean of the UK College of Agriculture. "He also brings a vast network of supporters from many breeds as well as many sectors of the pharmaceutical industry. Most of all, Ed likes horses and horse people. He takes over the reins from the capable leadership of Jamie MacLeod and will be sharing a half-time appointment with the Gluck Equine Research Foundation. The foundation was an early catalyst for the Equine Initiative, and the initiative certainly adds breadth to the foundational science programs in the Veterinary Science Department. We are very enthusiastic about the future of equine programs at UK."

During MacLeod's three years as director the Equine Initiative grew in size and scope from a Commonwealth Collaborative program to one with university-wide participation. The initiative includes more than 50 faculty and staff members from eight departments within the college, as well as key partnerships across UK and with important stakeholders in the equine industry. More than 170 undergraduate students are in its degree program, and it offers enhanced equine research and extension activities. The Equine Initiative's mission is to discover, share, and apply new knowledge that will enhance the health, performance, and management of horses commensurate with the signature status of Kentucky's equine industry.

"Serving as the first director of the Equine Initiative and Dickson Professor has been an honor," said Macleod. "I am very proud of the scope and breadth of UK's equine programs and our ongoing commitment to collaboration and interdisciplinary teamwork. The Equine Initiative has made an encouraging start, but it is just the beginning. Our dedication to academic innovation will maintain the true spirit of 'initiative' in the Equine Initiative, and I look forward to working with Dr. Squires on this continuing vision."

Holly Wiemers, MS, is communications director for UK’s Equine Initiative.

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More information on Gluck Equine Research Center and UK's Equine Initiative.

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