Fund Detail

This fund was formed to recognize the contribution of Dr. Corbin to companion animal science and to the American Society of Animal Science. Money from the club is used yearly to support the Corbin Award in Companion Animal Biology. The award is given at the ASAS annual meeting.

Jim Corbin earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his PhD. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the Ralston Purina Company, St. Louis, MO, as manager of special chows research in 1954 and soon became the first director of the Purina Pet Care Center. In 1973, he joined the Department of Animal Science at the University of Illinois as professor and established a world-class teaching and research program in companion animal biology.

Succinctly stated, Corbin is the father of the modern-day pet food industry. He formulated and extruded the world's first expanded foods for dogs and cats, catfish, trout, and monkeys. Development of these foods placed Ralston Purina in the #1 position for 46 years among its competitors in the U.S. $19 billion pet food market. Over 95% of the nutritional offerings made to America's cats and dogs is in the dry form, the technology was developed and championed by Corbin. In 2001, the American Society of Animal Science, in cooperation with the Iams Company, Lewisburg, OH, established the Corbin Award in Companion Animal Biology to recognize his many contributions to pet nutrition and management.

Original Fund Agreement

Value of club as of 10/31/2013: $97,976

The complete requirements for the Corbin Companion Animal Biology Award can be found here.  

2015 Award Winner: Cheryl L. Morris

The purpose of the Corbin Companion Animal Biology Award is to “recognize and stimulate research and/or teaching excellence in companion animal biology”.  Dr. Cheryl Morris has demonstrated excellence in both research and teaching in companion animal biology.  She has become a new age catalyst to stimulate the imaginations of both established scientists and rising scholars still in the student ranks. Dr. Morris’ contributions to the field of animal biology are extensive and include companion and exotic animals. Her research efforts have impacted biology, education, and policies across species. Her achievements translate into dynamic interactions across all constituents whom she educates about the fundamental and applied nature of animal biology, animal nutrition, and animal management.

2014 Award Winner: Dennis E. Jewell

Dr. Jewell received his BS degree from the University of Wisconsin, his MS from Pennsylvania State University and his PhD from the University of Georgia.  He is currently a senior nutritionist at Hill’s Pet Nutrition and has over 20 years of research experience in monogastric nutrition.  Dennis has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and scientific abstracts as well as multiple patents.  These publications are broadly cited throughout the Companion Animal Industry.  Dr. Jewell has also served as a member of the Canine Expert Committee charged by the AAFCO Pet Food Committee to recommend revisions and updates to the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles and the AAFCO Feeding Protocols.  This committee has completed its work and successfully fulfilled the charge of updating the profiles and protocols.  Serving as a member of this committee, clearly demonstrates Dr. Jewell’s expertise and passion to ensure companion animal health and well-being.

2013 Award Winner: Kelly Swanson

Dr. Kelly Swanson received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois (UI) in 2002. After post-doctoral training in functional genomics, Dr. Swanson became Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at UI in 2004 and was promoted to Associate Professor with indefinite tenure in 2009. He has established himself as a leader in companion animal nutrition and nutrigenomics, primarily in gut health and obesity. His research program has gained international recognition, highlighted by ~$2.7 million in research (as PI), 62 invited lectures, 76 peer-reviewed publications, and many international collaborations and awards. His use of genomic biology has added a new dimension to the field of companion animal nutrition and biology.

2011 Award Winner: Ryan M. Yamka

Ryan Yamka is a native of New Jersey and earned a BS in animal science and a BS in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University followed by his MS and PhD at the University of Kentucky. Yamka started his career in the pet food industry as a nutrition scientist in Product Development at Hill’s Pet Nutrition. While at Hill’s, Yamka has held positions of increasing responsibility in both research and product development. Yamka’s research has focused on genomics, weight management, amino acid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, fiber utilization, and technologies for alternative testing. He has maintained a critical role in the development and implementation of many new and innovative products for companion animals and was active in the application of new technologies for several of Hill’s weight management products. In addition, Yamka also developed a urine pH prediction model for felines that eliminated the need for feeding studies to test urine pH. Yamka is a highly productive scientist who has been actively engaged in companion animal nutrition research for more than 12 years. Yamka has 20 published manuscripts, 47 abstracts, 2 book chapters, and had 5 patents granted, with 30+ patents pending. Yamka actively volunteers in the community for the United Way, where he serves on numerous committees. Yamka and his wife, Tara, have three children ages 5, 2, and 1.

2010 Award Winner: Kathy L. Gross

Kathy Gross received her BS from Penn State University, her MS from Virginia Tech, and her PhD from Kansas State. She joined Hill's Pet Nutrition in 1990 and is currently director of product claims for Hill's pet food brands. During her career with Hill's, she has been a major force in the development and commercialization of many innovative products for companion animals. Gross is a meticulous scientist with outstanding skills in the design, implementation, analysis, presentation, and publication of research materials. She is an inventor on several patents and author of over 45 articles and book chapters, and she has published over 50 abstracts. Gross and her husband, Rick Tanner, have three children. Gross is also an active community volunteer.

2009 Award Winner: Nancy A. Irlbeck

Dr. Irlbeck was raised on a farm in Iowa and is currently the associate dean for academics in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University. She served on the Companion Animal Committee and introduced exotic animal species into that committee. Irlbeck received her BS and MS degrees in animal sciences at Iowa State University and her PhD at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In Animal Sciences at Colorado State she taught multiple nutrition classes, including pet and zoo nutrition, both of which she still teaches online. Irlbeck has written a textbook titled Nutrition and Care of Companion Animals and has recently written a companion and exotic animal nutrition chapter in a Feeds and Feeding text.

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