Former Students

Dustin Aherin || Cashley Ahlberg || Heather Bradford || Madison Butler || Lane Giess || Justine Henderson || Kerri Bates Jackson || Devin Jacobs || Brady Jensen || Drew Lakamp || Claudia Silvera || Katherine Upshaw || Kari Otteman White || Mohd Azwan Bin Jaafar



Dustin Aherin
Ph.D. student in pathobiology, Kansas State University, Beef Cattle Institute
M.S., 2017, Kansas State University

Systems approach to economic risk analysis of Bos Taurus beef embryo transfer programs through stochastic simulation


Cashley Ahlberg
Ph.D., Characterization of water intake phenotypes and genetic parameter estimation for water intake and efficiency traits in beef cattle
M.S., University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2014, "Genetic parameter estimates and breed effects for calving difficulty and birth weight in a multi-breed population"
Bioinformatics certificate, Oklahoma State University, 2016
B.S., University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2012, Animal Science
A.G.S., Northeastern Junior College, 2010

I grew up raising purebred Simmental and Sim Angus cattle. I was heavily involved in 4-H, FFA and livestock judging growing up were I developed a passion for livestock and agriculture. This passion for livestock and agriculture has led me to where I am today. My hobbies include raising cattle and spending time with family and friends.


Heather Bradford: Faculty at Virginia Tech
Ph.D., 2017, University of Georgia
M.S., 2013, Kansas State University

Description: Some of Heather's research interests include novel traits, methodology for national cattle evaluations, and incorporating genomics into genetic evaluations.

Bradford, H. L., D. W. Moser, J. M. Bormann, and R. L. Weaber. 2015. Estimation of genetic parameters for udder traits in Hereford cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 93:2663-2668. doi: 10.2527/jas.2014-8858

Bradford, H. L. 2014. The effect of quantity and breed composition of genotypes for genomic prediction in purebred or crossbred cattle. In Proceedings of the Beef Improvement Federation 46th Annual Research Symposium and Convention. pp. 28-35.

Bradford, H. L., D. W. Moser, J. M. Bormann, and R. L. Weaber. 2014. Udder quality is moderately heritable in Hereford cattle. Kansas State University Cattlemen's Day 2014 Beef Cattle Research Report. SRP1101:23-25.

Bradford, H. L., D. W. Moser, J. M. Bormann, and R. L. Weaber. 2014. Heifer calving rate is lowly heritable in Hereford cattle. Kansas State University Cattlemen's Day 2014 Beef Cattle Research Report. SRP1101:26-27.

Bradford, H. L. 2013. Genetics of udder quality in beef cattle. In Proceedings of the Beef Improvement Federation 45th Annual Research Symposium and Convention. pp. 160-174.



Madison Butler

Currently working for Cargill
Hometown: Vincennes, Indiana
B.S., Oklahoma State University, 2018
M.S. Project Description: “Estimation of genetic parameters for male fertility traits”

Madison is a sixth generation Angus breeder who grew up on a small diversified livestock operation. Her livestock experience along with her involvement in 4-H, the National Junior Angus Association, and the National Junior Swine Association led her to pursue an animal science degree. She attended Hutchinson Community College, where she was a member of the livestock judging team. She transferred to Oklahoma State University to complete her bachelor’s degree in animal science with a concentration in biotechnology. In her spare time, Madison enjoys spending time working with show cattle and developing youth involved in the livestock industry.

Lane Giess
Director of Commercial and Nontraditional Data Programs,
The American Simmental Association, Bozeman, MT since 2018
Ph.D Student at Colorade State

M.S., 2017, Kansas State University "Development of a feet and leg scoring method and selection tool for improved soundness in Red Angus Cattle"
B.S., 2015, Kansas State University, Animal Science's and Industry

Lane Giess' background in cattle production stems from raising and selling seedstock with his family. Their focus is developing composite bulls with the South Devon breed as a main breed type component for an alternative form of heterosis. Giess was active in meats and livestock judging while at KSU and after graduation started an M.S. looking at developing knowledge surrounding feet and leg traits in Red Angus and Simmental cattle. His thesis aimed at identifying the ideal scoring method and relevance of certain feet and leg traits for inclusion in national beef cattle genetic evaluation.

Today, Giess works with the IGS science team on developing programs to capture commercial and novel trait data. His main efforts are looking into maximizing efficiency and accuracy of the IGS multi-breed genetic evaluation powered by BOLT. These efforts include novel trait development for indicator traits of Stayability and building increased awareness for carcass traits in the genomic evaluation.


Feet and Leg Traits are Moderately to Lowly Heritable in Red Angus Cattle



Justine Henderson

Livestock Production Agent
Central Kansas District
K-State Research and Extension

Justine was raised on a large commercial cow-calf operation in northern California and south eastern Oregon. Growing up she was very active in her family's lifestyle, 4-H, and FFA, where she raised and showed market and breeding sheep. Due to being raised directly in the agriculture industry, an animal agricultural related field, specifically beef cattle production, has always been the first choice of future goals and aspirations for her. Justine recieved her bachelor's degree in animal science from CSU, Chico in 2017. While at CSU, Chico she was a member of the novice and advanced Livestock Judging Team and worked at the Swine Unit on the university farm. After graduation, she completed two consecutive internships with the Colorado State Beef Improvement Center in Saratoga, Wyoming, where she gained exposure to research regarding high-altitude disease. This cultivated her interest in breeding and genetic research and led her to pursue a M.S. degree at Kansas State University. Outside of school, Justine enjoys being outdoors, photography, exercising, and being a dog mom.

B.S., 2017, California State University-Chico
M.S., 2020, Kansas State University


Kerri Bates Jackson: Associate director of graduate recruiting and marketing, Emporia State University
M.S., 2013, Kansas State University

“Genetic and phenotypic relationships between temperament, immune function, and carcass traits in beef cattle”

Growing up on a small cow-calf operation in southeast Kansas developed my initial interest in agriculture. This led me to KSU where I completed my B.S., majoring in Agriculture Economics and Animal Sciences and Industry. From there, I pursued my M.S. in Animal Breeding and Genetics. My thesis project looked at genetic and phenotypic interrelationships among health, docility, and resulting carcass merit.

Following graduation, I taught animal science at a community college in Missouri. I have since moved back to the Kansas Flint Hills where my husband and I are growing a herd of our own.

Bormann, J. M., D. W. Moser, and K. E. Bates. "Factors affecting student performance in an undergraduate genetics course." Journal of Animal Science 91.5 (2013): 2438-443.



Devin Jacobs

Currently working at USDA MARC

B.S., South Dakota State University, 2017

M.S. Project Description: Genomic prediction for climate adaptability traits in sheep


Brady Jensen: Instructor, Livestock Judging Coach, South Dakota State University
M.S., 2017, Kansas State University

“Genetic parameter estimates for feet and leg traits in Red Angus cattle”



Drew Lakamp

Hometown: New Berlin, IL

B.S., Southern Illinois University Carbondale

M. S. Project Description: Sustainability of Beef Cattle

Ph.D., University of Nebraska

Claudia Silvera

Hometown: Asuncion, Paraguay

D.V.M., Universidad Nacional de Asuncion, 2014

M.S. Project Description: Genome-Wide Association Analysis of Carcass Traits in Hereford Cattle Using Ultra-High Density SNP Data

As part of a national feed efficiency project, re-evaluate the data analysis components (heritabilities, direct genomic values, association analysis) and concluding results, where genomic data is identified and utilized for enhanced selection of Hereford carcass traits.



Katherine Upshaw

Biology Instructor at Florida Southern College

Hometown: Key West, Florida

B.S. in Animal Science, University of Florida, 2018

M.S. Project Description: Genetic abnormalities in Hereford cattle: the detection of vertical fiber hide defect and identification of sequence variants associated with the expression of ocular squamous cell carcinoma

Katherine pursued every opportunity to experience animal agriculture growing up and has never looked back. She enriched her passion for agriculture at the University of Florida through involvement in the Equestrian Team, Block & Bridle Club, and an animal production internship in France. Katherine enrolled in many genetics courses as well, encompassing diverse topics like livestock genetic improvement and human molecular genetics. She eventually joined a research lab at UF that studied the molecular and genetic response of Caenorhabditis elegans to environmental stress. Now at Kansas State University, Katherine is finishing her M.S. thesis on genetic abnormalities in Hereford cattle and pursuing a Genetics, Genomics, and Biotechnology Graduate Certificate. While at KSU, Katherine has been fortunate enough to win the BIF 2020 Baker/Cundiff Scholarship, mentor undergraduates, and co-author a textbook chapter on bovine genomic selection.


Kari Otterman White

Kari Otteman White
Ph.D., Student and Chairperson, Neogen

M.S., Kansas State University, 2013, “Relationship between docility and reproduction in heifers”

Former Visiting Scientists:

Mohd Azwan Bin Jaafar, Borlaug Fellowship Program

Project: Exploration of population structure and genomic prediction methodology for growth and adaptability traits in six Malaysian goat populations




KSU ASI Beef Genetics Team

Megan Rolf

Jennifer Bormann

Bob Weaber