Nutrient partitioning and the sphingolipid ceramide in dairy cattle
In 2003, he received a B.S. degree with Distinction in Research from the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University under the advisement of Dr Dale Bauman. He then completed an M.S. degree in Animal Science from the University of Illinois with a dairy cattle nutrition focus. In 2009, Dr McFadden obtained a PhD degree in Dairy Science with an option in molecular biology from Virginia Tech. Following his PhD training, Dr McFadden gained experience in the field of mass spectrometry-based lipidomics as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neuroscience and the Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2012, Dr McFadden joined the faculty in the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences at West Virginia University as an assistant professor of biochemistry where he integrated hypothesis-driven lipidomics within the animal and nutritional sciences.
Dr McFadden recently joined the Cornell University Department of Animal Science as the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance Faculty Fellow in Dairy Cattle Biology. His PhD achievements to date include the comprehensive profiling of the bovine lipidome (>1,000 lipids) and the discovery that the sphingolipid ceramide is an associative and causative biomarker of insulin antagonism in dairy cattle. Working with a multidisciplinary team, Dr McFadden identified a dietary intervention to lower ceramide accrual in humans at risk of developing the metabolic syndrome. His current work is focused on developing novel nutritional and pharmacological technologies to modify insulin sensitivity and increase milk production in domestic animals, and demonstrate that ceramide accrual represents a conserved adaptation to support fetal development and lactation across species. Moreover, he is expanding his interests to use lipidomics as a means to characterise the efficacy of methyl donor supplementation to mitigate fatty liver disease and determine whether ceramide mediates the development of gestational diabetes mellitus in humans. Collectively, his efforts have challenged current fatty acid and methyl donor feeding practices in domestic animals and humans. His work is supported by state, federal, and the industry.
At the ISRP 2019, Dr de Vries will give his lecture on “Nutrient partitioning and the sphingolipid ceramide in dairy cattle” during the session on “Lifespan and Productivity”.