DR. REBECCA COCKRUM
Dr. Rebecca Cockrum grew up on a 160 acre hobby farm in Beebe, Arkansas. Her family raised everything from beef and dairy cattle to emus. Interests in math and science combined with her love of animals to earn her a BS in Animal Science at Arkansas State University in 2004. Afterward, she obtained an externship at the St. Louis Zoo’s Endocrinology Laboratory where she performed pregnancy tests on three of the elephants; Rani, Sri, and Ellie. After her externship, Dr. Cockrum joined Kelly Scientific Resources as a Scientific Recruiter, where she had insider knowledge regarding skill attributes most desired in candidates, as well as application and interview techniques that ensure candidate success.
Though Dr. Cockrum enjoyed working with fellow scientists in obtaining employment, she had become interested in research. To that end, she began her graduate career at the University of Wyoming under the direction of Dr. Kristi Cammack. Her thesis research focused on identifying differentially expressed genes in ewes more or less tolerant of elevated dietary nitrate. After completing her MS in 2009, she continued her dissertation research with focus on identifying genotypes associated with residual feed intake (feed efficiency) in sheep. During her Ph.D. research, Dr. Cockrum spent a few months in New Zealand collaborating with scientists at AgResearch Limited—an experience that provided a more global perspective of agriculture and science. After receiving her Ph.D. in 2012, Dr. Cockrum began a post-doctoral program with Dr. Milton Thomas who currently serves as the John E. Rouse Chair in the Beef Cattle Breeding and Genetics group at Colorado State University. Dr. Cockrum’s research focused on identifying genotypes associated with tolerance to hypoxic-induced pulmonary hypertension (Brisket Disease) and bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in beef cattle. Additionally, Dr. Cockrum organized and conducted a multi-disciplinary research project involving more than 50 scientists from University of Colorado Medical School, Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Wyoming, and University of California at Davis. More than 1700 tissues were collected and the initial transcriptome profiling through RNA-Seq is underway.
Dr. Cockrum began her academic career with the Department of Dairy Science as the Dairy Geneticist in January 2014. Her research interests focus on the maternal and environmental influences that impact dairy calf health and performance. She has four primary research areas that include: colostrum, feed efficiency, calf health, and biopolymers. The research areas are connected through elucidating the underlying mechanisms through -omics tools to better understand the physiological factors contributing to individual variation.