UK Graduate Student Spotlight: Stephen Coleman

Stephen Coleman

Stephen Coleman with
Thoroughbred stallion Tiznow

Name: Stephen Coleman
From: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Degrees and institute where received: BS in Agricultural Biotechnology from UK (2003)
MS in Veterinary Science from UK (2006)
PhD in Veterinary Science from UK (2011)

In December 2011 Stephen Coleman completed his PhD in Veterinary Science at the University of Kentucky under the leadership of Jamie MacLeod, VMD, PhD, John S. and Elizabeth A. Knight chair and professor of veterinary science at the Gluck Equine Research Center.

"Both my MS and PhD research focused on investigations of the equine genome to improve our understanding of them," said Coleman. "My PhD work has been focused on looking at gene expression in the horse on both a qualitative (What do the genes look like?) and quantitative (What level are they expressed at?) level. The data from my project was used to describe 11,356 gene structures, many of which had not previously been experimentally described. I also identified and investigated genes which might be unique to the horse. Some of my work contributed to the equine genome sequencing efforts."

"The data that Stephen generated is being used by equine scientists around the world. He has made major contributions to our understanding of gene structure in the horse," MacLeod said.

In addition to his contributions in equine research, Coleman was active in the Equine Initiative for several years, serving as chair of a student working group and on the organization's executive committee. In his role with the student working group Coleman helped identify opportunities for student involvement and provided feedback and advice to program leaders from a student's perspective. He also helped plan and execute equine events geared toward students as well as the general public. As an executive committee member, he represented a student perspective to the organization's leadership and helped set the direction of UK's equine programs.

Coleman is also son of Bob Coleman, PhD, PAS, associate director for undergraduate education in equine science and management, extension horse specialist, and a longtime leader within UK's equine programs. Both the elder Coleman and MacLeod hooded Coleman during his December graduation ceremony, an experience that was special to all three.

In the short term Coleman said his plans include working as a postdoctoral scholar with UK's Veterinary Science Department and finishing up some of the projects he began with MacLeod's laboratory.

Long-term, Coleman said, "I am highly interested in the application of informatic and computational approaches to address biological questions. I would like to continue working with 'omic' level (global) approaches in a career investigating the relationships between genotype and phenotype."

Holly Wiemers, MA, 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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