Anita Oberbauer received her B.S. in Zoology at UC Davis, graduating with highest honors in 1980. She earned her Ph.D. in animal science from Cornell University and then completed postdoctoral fellowships in perinatal biology at Loma Linda University and biological chemistry at UCLA prior to joining faculty at UC Davis in 1989 as an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science. She first served as vice chair and then was appointed chair in 2009.
Oberbauer studies growth and development, focusing on the cellular components that regulate skeletal growth and body composition. Her teaching has included courses in growth and development, molecular biology, sheep management, and oncogenes. Early on in her career, she was asked to develop companion animal courses for the department. She has been at the forefront of incorporating companion animals into animal science curricula and teaches two high-enrollment courses on the topic. Those courses proved an entry into studying the genetic basis for animal health disorders, most particularly dogs and dairy cattle. She has trained more than 25 M.S. and Ph.D. students, published more than 100 refereed articles and has been supported by federal and private agency funds.
She is a director for the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals Board, provides numerous invited talks on canine genetics, served on many federal grant review panels (NIH and USDA), and managed two panels. Oberbauer has served on editorial boards of several journals including the Journal of Animal Science and the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, and many professional society committees. She has received the UC Davis Distinguished Teaching Award, the American Society of Animal Science Corbin Award in Companion Animal Biology, the Distinguished Teacher Award for the Western Section of American Society of Animal Science, and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the UC Davis Consortium for Women and Research.