Laurie Lawrence Recognized with ASAA Fellow Award

Laurie Lawrence Recognized with ASAA Fellow Award

Dr. Laurie Lawrence

Photo: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment

Laurie Lawrence, PhD, professor in the department of animal and food sciences at the University of Kentucky (UK) was recently awarded the American Society of Animal Science Fellow Award, which recognizes career achievements in research.

Since joining UK in 1992 Lawrence has made many significant contributions to the field of equine nutrition. She has studied the equine athlete, the broodmare, and the growing horse.

Furthermore, Lawrence was one of the first equine nutritionists to focus on performance horses. She and her graduate students used a systematic approach in understanding the metabolism of exercising horses with particular emphasis on factors that limit maximum performance. Her investigations focused on fuel utilization and acid-base balance during exercise. Her research expanded the knowledge base relative to the contribution of various nutrients to energy production during exercise. Her studies on nitrogen metabolism during exercise and the role of dietary protein on horses' response to exercise were the first ever conducted.

Pre-exercise feeding practices vary widely in the racing industry. Lawrence's studies shed new light in this area, as well. She found little evidence that the type of feeding practice (fed versus fasting) prior to high-intensity exercise had any effect on the exercise response. Her studies also demonstrated that several nutrients, including vitamin E, selenium, fructo-oligosaccharides, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, affect immunological enhancement.

Through cooperative efforts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, Lawrence has developed a major research effort involving horses' use of pastures and conserved forages. Lawrence's research is revealing seasonal variations' effects on pasture nutrient composition and the factors that influence pasture intake by horses. She and her students have developed innovative methods for assessing horses' grazing preferences, which she has combined with new laboratory methods of estimating forage digestibility in horses. Her work in this area resulted in her receiving the Alfalfa Public Service Award from the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council.

In 1998 she was recognized by her American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) peers when resented with the American Feed Industry Association's Award for Distinguished Research in Nonruminant Nutrition. This was the first time a woman had received this award and only the second time an equine nutritionist has been so honored. She served as president of the Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society and in 1999 received its distinguished service award. In 2008 she received the first ASAS Equine Science Award.

In 2004 Lawrence was appointed to chair the National Research Council's (NRC) subcommittee to revise the "nutrient requirements of horses." This was the first time a women chaired a nutrient requirement series publications in the NRC's history. The publication, released in 2007, and other NRC publications are used by nutritionists in academia and in the feed industry worldwide and are considered the best source of nutrient requirement information.

Lawrence is an active member of ASAS and has served on the Board of Directors of the Society and as recording secretary. She has also served as Chairperson of the Nonruminant Nutrition Committee and the Horse Committee of the Society and currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Animal Science.

Her active basic and applied research programs have resulted in 75 refereed journal publications, 12 book chapters, and more than 150 scientific abstracts, research reports, and popular articles.

Edited from Lawrence's nomination packet submitted for American Society of Animal Science award.

Want more articles like this? Sign up for the Bluegrass Equine Digest e-Newsletter.

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

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More