June 26, 2013

Cornell researcher helps malnourished communities


Dr. Xingen Lei, Cornell University

At the American Society of Animal Science National Awards Program on July 9, Dr. Xingen Lei, professor of animal science at Cornell University, will be awarded the Bouffault International Animal Agriculture Award for distinguished service to agriculture in the developing areas of the world.

Lei is a founder of the International Center of Future Agriculture for Human Health, an organization aimed at improving swine and poultry production in the underdeveloped Sichuan province. The organization was created in 2005 in Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

“Instead of doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, now we have a platform where we can do things in a more planned way, a more organized way,” said Lei.

Lei’s current research includes biofortifying staples with iron, zinc and beta-carotene for malnourished populations in Asia, Africa, South America and Latin America. Lei uses pigs as models to study how these biofortified staples would interact with a human digestive system. The digestive system of pigs is very similar to humans.

Lei has assisted in establishing a national team of more than 100 scientists in China to fight against micronutrient deficiencies.

Lei’s interests in agriculture developed during his academic career. He received his BS and MS in China. He received his PhD from Michigan State University.

“When I was in China, I did not have many choices. I was selected into animal science,” said Lei. “I did not like that much in the beginning, but the more I studied and got involved, I realized more the importance of agriculture to secure food supply and its effect on human health as well as environment sustainability.”

The Bouffault International Animal Agriculture Award is given to animal scientists or producers who have made contributions to animal agriculture programs in developing countries. The award is named for animal scientist Jean Claude Bouffault, and is sponsored by the Center for Regulatory Services, Inc. The American Society of Animal Science is a professional organization that serves more than 5,000 animal scientists and producers around the world.

Media contact:

Samantha Walker
American Society of Animal Science
Communications Intern
samanthaw@asas.org / 217-356-9050