Bob Collier and the William J. Parker Agricultural Research Center

Bob Collier
Bob Collier

Bob Collier, professor of animal sciences, teaches Introduction to Dairy Science and Environmental Physiology of Domestic Animals. He also leads a summer training program in Large Dairy Herd Management which UA students can attend as a special problem course with 3 credits.

His research program has always been focused in two general areas—the biology of lactation and environmental effects on the physiology and functional genomics of cattle. He is currently training two doctoral candidates and a third will be arriving this next year. The School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences is also planning in 2013-14 to host visiting graduate students from Spain and China who will spend six to nine months working in the laboratory to learn techniques.

Collier grew up in a small farming community of 5,000 in south central Illinois, where his father and uncle owned a dairy farm. While working on the farm, he became interested in working with animals.

“I majored in zoology for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees because I wanted to learn more about animals in general rather than just farm animals,” said Collier “I then focused on dairy cattle for my doctoral and post-doctoral studies at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University.”

After nine years as a faculty member at the University of Florida, Collier joined Monsanto Company, where he was employed for 14 years as a senior fellow and director of the Dairy Research Program. He has been at the University of Arizona for 13 years as professor, served for a period of time as department head and currently is director of the William J. Parker Agricultural Research Center.

“In both of my areas of specialty I have been fortunate to have made contributions which benefit the dairy industry, and have had good students who have been successful,” noted Collier.

Collier holds nine patents related to discoveries in lactation or environmental biology. He was instrumental in launching bovine somatotropin, the first biotechnology product used in the dairy industries of the United States and several other countries. His research group discovered a new regulatory system in the mammary gland involving the neurotransmitter serotonin, and several new products are being developed for use in the dairy industry related to calcium and milk yield regulation in dairy cows.

“Three of my former students are now department heads at universities and several are training the next generation of scientists,” said Collier. “I still enjoy teaching, training students and conducting research and teaching—and have no plans to retire.”

Date released: 
Mar 25 2013
Robert Collier