Name: Shavahn Loux
From: Davis, California
Degrees and institutions where received:

  • B.S. animal science, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
  • PhD, biomedical sciences, Texas A&M University.

Shavahn Loux, PhD, chose to come to the University of Kentucky (UK) for her post-doctoral studies because of her passion for horses. She said it was the ideal place to continue her academic journey.

“UK has arguably the best equine research program in the country with world-renowned researchers collaborating to improve equine welfare,” she said.

Loux is working under the direction of Barry Ball, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, Albert G Clay Endowed Chair in Equine Reproduction at UK’s Gluck Equine Research Center, and has been involved in a wide range of equine reproduction projects, particularly focusing on monitoring gestational health using bioinformatic tools.

One of her major projects has been describing how messenger RNAs and microRNAs change through normal pregnancy and during placental disease, particularly placentitis. Along these same lines, Loux has identified the major proteins present in both amniotic and allantoic fluid during normal pregnancy and placentitis.

Ideally, she said, these studies will provide information to better diagnose and treat gestational abnormalities. In addition, Loux has also been working to better describe the equine cervical mucus plug, a crucial structure produced by the cervix in late gestation which has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

When asked what her most valuable takeaway was from the program, Loux said, “I have learned a tremendous amount in my time at the University of Kentucky and it’s hard to say any one thing is the most valuable.

“I think the bioinformatics skill set I’ve gained is high on that list, as are the collaborations I’ve formed with scientists within the program.” she said. “It’s nice to know that you only have to go down the hall to talk to a leading equine immunologist or parasitologist.”

Loux is currently looking for an academic faculty position.

Alexandra Harper, MBA, is the operations and communications coordinator for the UK Ag Equine Programs.

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More information on Gluck Equine Research Center and UK Ag Equine Programs.