Maci Mueller
Maci Mueller

Animal Biology Ph.D. Wins Kinsella Memorial Prize

Maci Mueller is an Assistant Professor at Kansas State University

Maci Mueller, who earned her doctoral and master’s degrees in animal biology at UC Davis, is the winner of the 2024 Kinsella Memorial Prize for her leadership and work developing novel breeding technologies for cattle.

Mueller graduated in 2023 and is now an assistant professor at Kansas State University where she focuses on animal genomics and biotechnology.

Maci Mueller
Maci Mueller

“I was truly honored when I received the news and, most importantly, I was really appreciative of the college’s support throughout my graduate career, and this final recognition of the culmination of all my work at UC Davis,” Mueller said.

The Kinsella prize is named for the late food chemist and former College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean John E. Kinsella. It comes with a $3,500 award and honors graduate students whose Ph.D. dissertation involves more than one field of study, is high quality and original. 

“Her academic achievements are impeccable, and her graduate research not only showcases exceptional quality and originality but also highly aligns with our college's mission,” animal geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam, who was Mueller’s advisor, wrote in a nomination letter. “Mueller's dedication to service, particularly within agricultural organizations, her leadership abilities, and her unparalleled communication skills, set her apart as an exemplary candidate.”

The college’s Graduate Education Committee and Van Eenennaam said her work using gene editing tools and advanced reproductive techniques to improve the distribution of elite genetics and beneficial traits in livestock was significant and impactful. 

“This pioneering research established a foundation for innovative breeding strategies that incorporate the application of biotechnology, advanced reproductive techniques, and classical breeding systems,” Van Eenennaam said.

While at UC Davis, Mueller served as a communication and outreach fellow for the Global Food Initiative at UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, worked as a teaching assistant leading lab and discussion sessions and was awarded a U.S. Department of Agriculture predoctoral fellowship. She also earned a graduate certificate in Extension, Outreach, and Science Communication.

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