Name: Erica Macon
From: Fort Pierce, Florida
Degree and institutions where received: BS in animal science, University of Florida;
MS in horse science, Middle Tennessee State University.
Erica Macon is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in the department of veterinary science at the University of Kentucky (UK). She said she chose UK because of the opportunities the program offers.
“I could clearly see myself growing as a scholar and intellectual,” she said. “Equine professionals are easily accessible for networking and collaborating, which allows for more research opportunities.”
Macon said her current position offers every opportunity for her to be successful and believes it gives her the best opportunity to help horses.
At UK she works with a herd of horses with endocrine diseases, including pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, equine metabolic syndrome, and insulin dysregulation. Macon works with Amanda Adams, PhD, an assistant professor at UK’s Gluck Equine Research Center.
“She is one of the main reasons I came to UK,” Macon said. “Everyone praises her for her great personality and mentoring ability, and she has been wonderful to work with.”
Macon’s research focuses on equine immunology and endocrinology. She’s carrying out her program in collaboration with Mars Horsecare, a division of Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition, and Pat Harris, MA, VetMB, PhD, Dipl. ECVCN, MRCVS. Her goal is to investigate the effects of diet, exercise, and season on metabolic and inflammatory responses in horses with endocrinopathies. The outcome of this research could provide researchers with more knowledge to improve the management of these horses, specifically those with insulin dysregulation that are more prone to laminitis.
When asked what her most valuable take away from the program was to date, Macon said, “a great deal can be accomplished when you work with a great group of people in your lab.
“I have already completed two projects towards my dissertation and a semester of classes,” she said. “Without the group of individuals I work with, I would not have been able to finish those projects and begin my third project. Research is a group effort and I am very thankful for the individuals that I get to work with.”
Macon’s tentative graduation date is in May 2021. After graduation she hopes to remain in academia and gain a faculty position with both research and teaching components.
Alexandra Harper, MBA, is the operations and communications coordinator for the UK Ag Equine Programs.
Want more articles like this? Sign up for the Bluegrass Equine Digest e-Newsletter.