Professor Helen M Miller

Profile

The overall aim of my research is to develop feeding systems which enhance animal health, performance, meat and egg quality of pigs and poultry in a sustainable manner. This research requires a fundamental understanding of the underlying physiological, metabolic and genomic responses to nutrients so that mechanisms already existing within the animal may be triggered to respond in an optimal way. Two critical periods in the pig’s life are immediately after birth and immediately after weaning. The latter is of particular importance to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which were used routinely in weaner feeds prior to 2006. This research involves defining fundamental changes in the pig that help it to be successful and how these may be stimulated by nutrition. A number of factors influence piglet success following weaning:

  • Other areas currently under investigation are:Comparing piglets produced in our indoor versus our outdoor facilities we found that rearing environment affects both survival and performance. Can we use nutrition to equalise environment effects?
  • Certain feed additives e.g. zinc oxide, help pigs to resist disease. Can we create a similar response without using a heavy metal?
  • Another area we are investigating is the voluntary feed intake of the weaned animal since, unsurprisingly, pigs which eat well post weaning do better than those which do not, but what makes some pigs eat more than others at this time? We have developed a group feeding recording system to help us answer this question.
  • Mode of action of ZnO in controlling pig diarrhoea
  • Developing sustainable alternatives to therapeutic use of heavy metals in pig diets
  • Feeding for enhanced meat quality (with University of Bristol)
  • Gut health and microbiome
  • Funding for these projects currently comes from BBSRC, AHDB and industry.
  • Factors affecting reproductive seasonality
  • Developing diets/feeding and management strategies to maximise feed conversion efficiency, performance and sustainability in pigs and poultry
  • Incidence of zoonoses in different environments
  • Influence of diet on health and performance
  • Diet selection in pigs and poultry

Responsibilities

  • Monogastric Research Group Leader
  • Director of Leeds University Farms
  • Lead for CIEL@Leeds

Research interests

Nutrition and production of pigs and poultry ["Ecology and Evolution<\/a>","Heredity, Development and Disease<\/a>"]

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Qualifications

  • PhD, Alberta
  • MAgrSc, Reading
  • BSc, Edinburgh

Student education

Nutrient partitioning in pigs and poultryNutrition and production of pigs and poultry{"BLGY2293":"Animal Physiology: from Ants to Whales","BLGY2296":"Human Genetics","BLGY3105":"Applied Animal Science"}{"BLGY2293":"Animal Physiology: from Ants to Whales","BLGY3021":"Research Project","BLGY3105":"Applied Animal Science","BLGY3345":"Biology Integrated Research Projects","BLGY5380M":"Extended Research Project"}


Studentship information

Undergraduate project topics:

  • Nutrition and production of pigs and poultry

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Nutrient partitioning in pigs and poultry

See also:

Modules managed

BLGY2293 - Animal Physiology: from Ants to Whales
BLGY3105 - Applied Animal Science

Modules taught

BLGY2293 - Animal Physiology: from Ants to Whales
BLGY3021 - Research Project
BLGY3105 - Applied Animal Science
BLGY3345 - Biology Integrated Research Projects
BLGY5380M - Extended Research Project

Research groups and institutes

  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Heredity, Development and Disease
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>