Below you will find a brief description of current faculty research interests. For more detailed information, please visit their individual websites, or contact them directly.

Students are strongly encouraged to contact faculty prior to, or during, the application process to discuss research opportunities and potentially identify a mentoring professor. Please note these contacts on the Graduate Studies application form.


Richard A. Blatchford, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Poultry Extension Specialist
  • Department of Animal Sciences
My research focus is on the husbandry, behavior, and welfare of small to large scale poultry production. I am particularly interested in understanding the challenges facing small scale and backyard poultry flocks as well as the impacts of housing systems on poultry health and welfare on large scale facilities. I am also interested in developing on farm assessment tools for producers to monitor the health and welfare of their own flocks.
2121 Meyer Hall

John M. Eadie, Ph.D.

  • Professor
  • Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology
  • Former Avian Sciences Graduate Group Chair
My research integrates studies in behavioral ecology with analyses of population biology and conservation genetics. Most of our work focuses on waterfowl, but we are also studying other avian communities. On-going projects include: (1) field studies of the ecology and evolution of reproductive parasitism in Barrow's and Common Goldeneyes, Wood Ducks, and Black-headed Ducks; (2) development of molecular genetic techniques (DNA fingerprinting, PCR, DNA sequencing) to study kinship, parentage, and phylogenetic relationships among the Anatidae; and (3) field studies and computer modeling of the interactions between social behavior, demography, and community structure in cavity-nesting waterfowl. Our field sites include California, Argentina, British Columbia, and Ontario.
1079 Academic Surge

Thomas Hahn, Ph.D.

  • Professor
  • Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Interfaces of behavior, endocrine and neuroendocrine physiology, ecology, and evolution. Specifically environmental regulation of avian annual schedules of reproduction, plumage molt and migration; scheduling tradeoffs between current reproduction and survival (future reproduction); evolution of mechanisms of responses to environmental cues such as day length, food, social factors; effects of unpredictable environmental events on behavior and physiology of free-living birds. Avian communication, especially use of heterospecific mimicry in song, and learned non-song vocalizations.
102 Animal Communication Lab

Michelle Hawkins, VMD, DABVP (Avian Practice)

  • Professor, Companion Avian and Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • Director of the California Raptor
  • Department of Medicine and Epidemiol, School of Veterinary Medicine
The focus of our laboratory is on anesthesia, analgesia, and critical patient care for avian species. Current areas of research include (1) determining the number and distribution of opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord of various species of birds to help focus studies of analgesic drugs and (2) evaluating the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of analgesic drugs in birds for use in the treatment of avian pain. Our laboratory also conducts other studies that apply directly to avian medicine, such as the assessment of clinicopathologic changes in birds associated with specific diseases.
2213 Tupper Hall

Elisha Hull, Ph.D.

  • Associate Adjunct Professor
  • Department of Animal Science
My research interests include conservation genetics, avian ecology and migration, and the conservation of rare and endangered species. Using a combination of field research and molecular genetic techniques I have studied numerous species of raptors (red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks, Swainson’s hawks, Galápagos hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, Cooper’s hawks, great gray owls, merlins) primarily at study sites across North America in collaboration with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (http://www.ggro.org). In collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/sacramento) I am also studying several species of conservation concern including California clapper rails, vernal pool fairy shrimp, callippe silverspot butterflies, Shasta crayfish, and great gray owls. Current research projects include a population genetic analysis of North American subspecies of merlin, demographic monitoring of great gray owls using passive genetic techniques, and acoustic monitoring of California clapper rails.
2131A Meyer Hall

Annie King, Ph.D.

  • Professor
  • Department of Animal Science
  • Chair, Avian Sciences Graduate Group
Students in my lab focus on ways to prevent lipid oxidation in poultry muscle; use of nutritious horticultural byproducts and other additives as ingredients in poultry feed, prevention of lipid oxidation in meat, and deposition of nutrients in eggs as well as environmental stresses that affect lipid oxidation of poultry meat.
1217 Meyer Hall

Maja Makagon, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Animal Science
My research program focuses on interplay between the behavior, welfare and management of poultry, including ducks, turkeys, laying hens and broilers. My lab focuses on 3 topic areas: 1) assessing the effects of the physical and social environments on bird behavior, 2) evaluating the relationship between behavior and bone integrity, and 3) developing and validating practical, species-specific welfare assessment measures. A common goal of this work is to develop strategies to help minimize behavior-related poultry management issues while optimizing bird welfare and production.
2245 Meyer Hall

Maurice Pitesky, D.V.M., MPVM, Dipl., ACVPM

  • Assistant specialist
  • School of Veterinary Medicine-Cooperative Extension
Research interests are focused in three major areas: 1) Using "traditional" epidemiological techniques and GIS and spatial statistics to understand how avian diseases move in time and space. 2) Using Next Generation Sequencing technology to gain insights into the virulence and survivability of pathogens including Salmonella and Campylobacter. 3) Gaining a better understanding of 'micro'-commercial (i.e. small scale poultry production) with respect to environmental sustainability, poultry health, and food safety.
4007 Vet Med 3B

Lisa Tell, D.V.M.

  • Professor
  • Medicine and Epidemiology - School of Veterinary Medicine
Our laboratory is concentrating on developing assisted reproductive techniques for psittacines. The model species is the budgerigar. Our laboratory is also working various studies (hematology and pharmacology) which are directly applicable to companion avian medicine.
4311 Vet Med 3A

Huaijun Zhou, Ph.D.

  • Professor
  • Department of Animal Science
Research in immunogenetics, molecular genetics, functional genomics, and bioinformatics in poultry. My group is focused on elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms of host-pathogen interaction including disease resistance, immune response, and pathogenesis of infection. The overall goals are to understand genetic regulation of host response and basic mechanisms of pathogen virulence in animals, to identify host and pathogen genes that are involved in the host-pathogen interplay. The pathogens of interest are food-borne bacteria such as Newcastle disease virus, avian influenza virus, Salmonella and Campylobacter. Another area of my research is to functionally annotate regulatory elements of livestock species by integrating RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, and DNase-seq across different tissues.
2247 Meyer Hall