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Kristy Daniels

Associate Professor, Animal Systems Biology
Professional photo of Dr. Kristy Daniels.
School of Animal Sciences
2070 Litton-Reaves Hall
175 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Dr. Daniels joined the department of Dairy Science at Virginia Tech in 2014 as an assistant professor.  An animal systems biologist, her current research interests include elucidating mechanisms that govern rumen and mammary growth-she is especially interested in studying how nutrition affects these.

Dr. Daniels grew up on a dairy farm in Sterling, Michigan and completed her BS in Animal Science at Michigan State University. Her involvement with undergraduate research and various internships informed her decision to attend graduate school so she could further study how nutrition affects mammary growth in dairy heifers. She received both her MS and PhD from the Dairy Science Department at Virginia Tech. Prior to her return to Virginia Tech, Daniels held positions at The Ohio State University and the USDA.

Currently Daniels is focused on getting her lab up and running and is doing so with the help of PhD students Hannah Tucker and Taylor Yohe and Lab Specialist Cathy Parsons. Daniels looks forward to contributing to teaching and research missions at Virginia Tech.


Our current research program has two main areas, rumen biology and mammary biology; research in each area has the ultimate goal of improving production efficiency in dairy cattle. Our current studies in rumen biology aim to better characterize morphological, metabolic, and microbial growth and development. One current study will determine effects of level of nutrient intake on: rumen morphology, gene transcript and protein abundance and localization, and quantification of select ruminal bacteria. In our mammary biology research we are using in vitro culture of various mammary cell types to first characterize and then manipulate actions of the extracellular matrix proteoglycan decorin so we can study effects on mammary growth and differentiation. In a separate study we are testing the hypothesis that inflammatory signals in early lactation limit milk production capacity by decreasing mammary secretory cell number, synthetic capacity of cells, or both.

  • 2008 National Milk Producers Federation Graduate Student Paper Presentation Contest Winner, Presented at the 2008 JAM.
  • 2006-2008 John Lee Pratt Fellowship in Animal Nutrition for PhD studies at Virginia Tech
  • 2008 - PhD, Virginia Tech, Dairy Science
  • 2004 - MS, Virginia Tech, Dairy Science
  • 2002 - BS, Michigan State University, Animal Science
  • DASC 3274: Applied Dairy Cattle Nutrition (3cr)
  • DASC 4374: Physiology of Lactation (3cr)

DASC 6274: Critical Thinking in Bovine Physiology and Metabolism (3 cr)

Lab Group


Cathy Parsons, Research and Lab Specialist

Mark Ellett, PhD Student