Award for Distinction in Outreach & Engagement - Spring 2005
A leader in the field of animal genetics and researcher of international acclaim, Dr. Sheila Schmutz has extended the University's expertise beyond the campus and scientific community. Her commitment to information-sharing and public dialogue makes her a worthy recipient of the Outreach and Public Service Award.
Dr. Schmutz was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up in Louisiana and Wisconsin. She received a B.Sc. from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a M.Sc. from the University of Alberta, and a Ph.D. from Queen's University.
After a post doctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary, she joined the U of S in 1983. In addition to her role as professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science, she currently serves as Acting Associate Dean (Research) in the College of Agriculture.
Dr. Schmutz is highly regarded for her research in two core areas–genes influencing the economics of beef cattle production and genes affecting coat colour in cattle and dogs.
Her world-class genomics research has thrust the U of S into the international spotlight. Dr. Schmutz's team of professionals has been credited with many discoveries including leading-edge DNA tests related to cattle horns and scurs, carcass quality and milk composition, cattle and dog coat colour and related disorders. Groups of these DNA tests are offered by three Canadian companies: Quantum Genetics, Bova-Can Laboratories and HealthGene. As a result, the public can access important information for breeding decisions.
Although Dr. Schmutz's research is well-documented in scientific papers and conferences, her primary outreach tool has been the Internet. Her websites dedicated to cattle traits and cattle and dog coat colour provide valuable information to breeders, researchers and students around the world. During her sabbatical in 2003, Dr. Schmutz launched an online book entitled Genes for Cowboys. This website on beef cattle genetics continues to be a popular resource for students and ranchers.