Max Rothschild, Iowa State University animal geneticist, has been appointed to the Ensminger International Chair, which encourage international work. The position is made possible through the Marion Eugene and Audrey H. Ensminger Endowment for Animal Science, and was effective July 1.

Rothschild is a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture in animal science and director of Iowa State's Center for Integrated Animal Genomics. He also is the U.S. Pig Genome Coordinator, which facilitates U.S. and international pig genome mapping projects.

Maynard Hogberg, Iowa State's animal science department head, points out that Rothschild has a strong interest and background in international research activities. "As the Ensminger International Chair, he will be able to expand his current efforts, plus work on new projects on the international scene," he notes.

Marion Eugene Ensminger was dedicated to animal agriculture education. He served on the faculty at universities in Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Washington. In 1964, he organized Agriservices Foundation and launched a series of technical agriculture seminars held in more than 70 countries.

David Topel, dean of Iowa State's agriculture college, was the first person named to the Ensminger chair, Rothschild succeeds him. He will take over leadership for the Ensminger international animal science schools. In fact, Hogberg says Rothschild will provide leadership for all international programs in animal agriculture at Iowa State.

"This will include establishing international projects, involving young faculty in international experiences and bringing international scholars to Iowa State for short-term visits and research collaborations," Hogberg says. "In addition, he will be involved in the development of a course in international animal agriculture for undergraduate students."

Rothschild has won numerous awards. His first international effort was teaching swine genetics to 50 faculty and students in China in 1982. In 1989 he was among the first animal geneticists to participate as part of a delegation to China that selected and imported 155 pigs from three unique breeds, which have been useful in many of his and other animal scientists' discoveries.

Rothschild established the first U.S. collaboration with the European pig gene mapping community. His many other international research efforts include a collaborative effort to identify genes in Brazilian pig breeds, gene identification in cattle in Israel and animal genetics experiments in France, Finland, Italy, Scotland and Spain. He has been a frequent visitor to Korea and China, lecturing about swine breeding and molecular genetics and helping develop the first swine test stations in Korea. He has traveled and lectured in more than 30 countries. 

More recently, he helped initiate an animal genetics project to improve animal production in Uganda through the Center for Sustainable Livelihoods, a current effort led by Iowa State's agriculture and life sciences college.

Rothschild lectures and teaches worldwide and has been a lecturer at Ensminger Schools in Taiwan, Thailand, Korea and Hungary. He has hosted scientists from many countries and has trained graduate and postdoctoral students from 13 countries.

Source: Iowa State University