The National Turkey Federation (NTF) honored Dr. Geraldine Huff, a microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agriculture Research Service (ARS), with the 2010 NTF Research Award for her dedication and excellence in providing the turkey industry with empirical research on bacterial infections in turkeys. The award was presented to Huff during the Poultry Science Association’s Annual Meeting.

In studying turkey osteomyelitis complex (TOC) for the past 18 years, Huff developed an experimental model that reproduced TOC by using the synthetic stress hormone, dexamethasone, to compromise the turkey’s immune system. Her research established that chronic respiratory disease complex was associated with TOC. She also demonstrated that vitamin D, vitamin E, and several yeast extract products reduce the impact of stress on the immune system and may be effective alternatives to antibiotics in turkey production. Huff’s research has also shown that genetic selection for rapid growth has changed the turkey stress response, suggesting a reason for the steady increase of this complex since it was first recognized in the late 1980s.

“The advancements Dr. Huff has made in her research provide the turkey industry with a better understanding of how to combat TOC,” says Dr. Hilary Thesmar, NTF’s senior director of scientific and regulatory affairs. “Her research on the health and wellness of turkeys makes her most deserving of this award.”

Based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Huff has been with ARS since 1992. She has also received the USDA-ARS Southern Plains Area Early Career Research Award.

Huff received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Arkansas.

NTF’s Research Award is presented in even-numbered years to a researcher who has made a significant contribution to the body of research in turkey production.

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