PDF - Effect of early-life nutrition on nutrient utilization and health of piglets - SK-009

Preferred Disciplines: Swine nutrition and physiology (Post-Doc)
Project length: 3 years (9 units) 
Desired start date: May 2019
Location: Saskatoon, SK
No. of Positions: 1
Preferences: None
Company: Prairie Swine Centre

About Company:

The Prairie Swine Centre is a non-profit swine production research corporation located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.   It offers a nationally and internationally recognized program in research, technology transfer, and education all directed towards the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of pork production.  The Centre operates a 300-sow farrow-to-finish research herd with both commercial and specialized research facilities.

Project Description:

With the increase in sow prolificacy in the last decade there has been a concurrent increase in the number of low-birth weight piglets.  Small piglets tend to remain small and have poor growth performance throughout their lifetime.  There is little information on the physiological and metabolic differences between low and normal birth weight piglets.

There has been recent efforts to reduce antibiotic usage and the usage of animal-based protein sources in feed in animal agriculture. While it has been shown that the use of completely plant-based diets has no impact on lifetime performance of piglets, it is not known whether these diets support optimal piglet health or increase susceptibility to pathogens.

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

  • To determine impact of diet complexity on piglet health
  • To determine the physiological and metabolic differences between low and normal birth weight piglets
  • To determine the effect of early-life nutrition on nutrient paritioning, long-term performance, and piglet robustness


  • Use of classical swine nutrition methodologies including measures of growth performance and nutrient utilization
  • Metabolomics and proteomics-based approaches as well as immunoblotting and PCR
  • Disease-challenge models and immune system assessment

Expertise and Skills Needed:

  • Advanced degree(s) in swine nutrition, physiology, metabolism, or veterinary science or related discipline or species (monogastric)
  • PhD, completed or will be completed by the expected start date

For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
  2. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Zsuzsanna Papp.