Texas Tech University

Undergraduate Research Scholars

The Animal and Food Science Undergraduate Research Scholars Program provides undergraduate student with the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience working on cutting-edge research projects with faculty, graduate students, and research technicians.

Application Process

How to Apply:

Students should review the surveys below filled out by individual faculty about their research and their expectations for undergraduates working in their labs. Once you find a faculty with similar interests, follow the instructions they have listed for contacting them. Remember, you are asking them to take you into their lab and train you. Be as professional in your application as if you would when applying for any work position, it will help get your relationship off to a good start!

Chance Brooks, Ph.D.

Brad Johnson, Ph.D.

Mark Miller, Ph.D.

Joe Neary, VetMB, Ph.D.

Sam Prien, Ph.D.

Alexandra (Sasha) Protopopova, Ph.D.

Questions: If you have general questions about undergraduate research contact Dr. Sam Prien at samuel.prien@ttu.edu and he will do his best to assist you.

Faculty Advisors

Mindy M. Brashears, Ph.D.
Professor: Food Microbiology, Food Safety and Director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence


Chance Brooks, Ph.D.
Associate Chair and Professor: Meat Science

Research interests are best defined as Meat Quality and Safety. The meat quality research conducted in our laboratory has focused on beef tenderness and flavor; meat color and stability during storage; and the nutritive value of meat. The meat safety component of research has focused on pre- and post-harvest food safety interventions and surveys of pathogen prevalence.

Alejandro Echeverry, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor: Food Science


Guy H. Loneragan, BVSc, Ph.D.
Professor: Food Safety and Public Health
Research focuses on One Health – a concept in which human health, environmental health, and animal health are all integrated. Our aspect of this work is primarily focused in food safety and how we can implement practical approaches that decrease bacterial pathogens. A second area of research is antibiotic resistance within our overall goal of preserving antibiotics for future generations. Our focus is on antibiotic use and resistance in bacterial populations of animals.


John J. McGlone, Ph.D.
Professor: Swine, Animal Welfare, Animal Behavior
Research interests are in the science of animal behavior and welfare, including neural and immune mechanisms underlying stress, appropriate swine housing and production systems, and pheromone use in behavioral therapy. Current research projects include pig transport and effects of pheromones on behavioral modification.

Markus F. Miller, Ph.D.
Professor: Meat Science, Food Processing and Preservation


Joe Neary, VetMB, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor: Animal Health and Well-Being
Research interests include diseases of the heart and lungs of livestock; specifically, right-sided heart failure in cattle due to pulmonary hypertension. Right-sided heart failure in cattle and humans shows many similarities; consequently, the research has a dual benefit for both animals and humans.


Kendra Nightingale, Ph.D.
Associate Professor: Pre-and Post-Harvest Food
Research focuses primarily on pre- and post-harvest food safety. Her work has included a more comprehensive understanding of the molecular ecology and transmission dynamics of food borne pathogens throughout the human food chain, as well as identifying risk factors that contribute to loading of the human food chain with food borne pathogens and the subsequent spread of these pathogens along the food continuum.

Samuel D. Prien, Ph.D.
Professor: Reproductive Physiology, Assisted Reproduction


Alexandra (Sasha) Protopopova, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor: Companion Animal Behavior and Welfare
Research is focused on companion animal well-being, behavior, and human-animal interactions. My  broad research aims are 1) to improve the well-being of pet dogs and dogs housed in animal shelters  through the development of behavioral interventions, 2) assess and develop therapy dog programs to benefit human health and educational outcomes, and 3) improve our general understanding of animal  abnormal behavior.


Ryan Rathmann, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor: Beef Cattle 
Research is focused on beef cattle feedlot nutrition, carcass composition and muscle growth. One of his long-term research goals is to provide a greater understanding of the bridge between livestock selection technologies and subjective evaluation principles in order to make animal breeders and marketers more precise in their decision making.


Jhones O. Sarturi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor: Beef Cattle Nutrition & Metabolism
Research interests highlight the following: Beef cattle nutrition and ruminal metabolism; Feedstuff evaluation; Byproducts for livestock nutrition; Forage quality and conservation; Laboratory techniques to estimate feedstuffs feeding value; Animal models (ruminants) to estimate feedstuff feeding value and impact on digestive tract digestion.


Leslie D. Thompson, Ph.D.
Professor: Food Science & Safety
Research opportunities in composition, quality and safety of foods. Students gain experience working in an Animal and Food Science Analytical Lab on food composition and quality. Conduct research in conjunction with USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory.

Funding Opportunities

Center for Active Learning and Undergraduate Engagement (CALUE)
Travel Funding
Project Funding

Scholar Opportunities

Center for Active Learning & Undergraduate Engagement Workshops

TTU Double Time Program
This program is designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities for Texas Tech University students, both undergraduates and graduates, across all academic colleges and disciplines.

Bob Albin Undergraduate Research Competition
This event is held annually in April for students in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

Animal & Food Sciences