The Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University has the pleasure of hosting two international visitors from Thailand under the mentorship of Dr. Kenneth Stalder, Professor in the Department of Animal Science. Dr. Stalder feels that mentoring graduate students, post docs and research scientists personally keeps his projects moving forward and also helps him write and complete exceptional publications with a variety of viewpoints and knowledge. Dr. Stalder comments, “My success is attributed to the wonderful students and research scientists that I mentor.” He also feels that the exchange builds a nice tie between Iowa State University and the home university of the visitor and hopes that the connections continue to foster more relationships into the future.
In February 2018, Dr. Stalder along with the Global Programs Department in the college welcomed Suppasit Plaengkaeo, a visiting research scholar from Khon Kaen University in Thailand. Suppasit is a member of a research group of 15-30 students, advised by Dr. Monchai Duangjinda, studying swine reproduction and productivity through their lifespan. As a part of Suppasit’s research program in Thailand, he works with data provided by Betagro Group, a company that engages in animal feed production, livestock, animal health products, and food product businesses. While at Iowa State, Suppasit is attending short classes and conducting research on the genetic and management effects on sow longevity using the Betagro commercial data he brought with him. Suppasit received the prestigious “Research and Researchers for Industries (RRi) PhD Scholarship” from the Thailand Research Fund (TRF) to help off-set his costs while visiting the Iowa State. He chose to visit Iowa State after a referral from his advisor, Dr. Monchai, and also because of the similar advancements of production sites and modern technology used in Iowa and Thailand. In Thailand, pork is the 3rd most popular choice of food after seafood and poultry. Thailand produces 20-25 million pigs a year and exports some of the pork it produces in the form of processed pork to mainly China and Japan.
Suppasit has completed one publication and hopes to finish a second publication based on the research he conducts while at Iowa State. Suppasit will return to Thailand at the beginning of October and looks forward to applying and transferring his logic learned during his visit to his home university and research group. In the future, he plans to complete his PhD thesis and possibly start his own business.
Dr. Stalder is also hosting China Supakorn, a post doc student visiting Iowa State until the end of the year. Prior to visiting Iowa State, China was an associate professor in animal breeding at Walailak University in Thailand. During her time in Thailand, China received her PhD in animal breeding and genetics, completing her thesis in cattle production, specifically on the Kamphansean beef cattle, a composite breed that is a Thai native breed. When arriving at Iowa State, China was able to apply her knowledge within animal breeding and started researching swine production. China is currently conducting research with colleagues on improving sow longevity. China also attends classes and seminars in the classroom. Although China doesn't’t have a specific job opportunity after her departure from Iowa State, she looks forward to applying her experience and skills learned when she returns to her home country. China sincerely appreciates all of the faculty and staff who have helped make her stay exceptional including Dr. Ken Stalder, Joe Stock, Austin Putz and many others. She also appreciated the opportunity she has received to conduct research at Iowa State and truly values the potential collaboration and research opportunities among professors and universities.