For over 30 years, Dr. Robert Carson and Dr. Dwight Wolfe have conducted research in reproduction of farm animals. Together they have mentored over 40 graduate students and clinical residents who earned advanced degrees and specialty board status. Today those graduates hold leadership positions in private veterinary practice, academic institutions, government agencies, and veterinary pharmaceutical industries. Food animal research at Auburn has global implications on food animal health and production. 

The research of Drs. Carson and Wolfe focuses on traits that are economically important to livestock producers while ensuring animal well-being and productivity.

Their current research targets trichomoniasis, a venereal disease of cattle. Caused by the protozoon Tritrichomonas foetus, trichomoniasis is economically devastating to the U. S. cattle industry with losses estimated to exceed $650 million annually. Since 1999 at least 17 states have enacted rules requiring testing and slaughter of bulls infected with the disease and banning entry of bulls that are not virgin or test negative. Numerous foreign countries ban importation of semen from infected bulls. 

Recent studies evaluated the prevalence of trichomoniasis in Alabama as well as the microscopic anatomy of reproductive tissues of bulls as they relate to survival of the organism in infected bulls.

There are no legal drugs available for treatment of this infection in cattle in the United States. Additional studies are assessing novel compounds as well as a commercially available vaccine for treatment of infected bulls. Studies continue on the pathophysiology of this disease. 

Dr. Bob Carson

Dr. Carson’s research has focused primarily on bull breeding soundness, bovine embryo transfer and in-vitro fertilization. He has been involved with antimicrobial therapy for reproductive infections in cattle as well as testicular biopsy as a diagnostic tool in bulls. He participates in research in embryo-pathogen interaction and is member of the recently organized CVM Working Group on Venereal Diseases. His current focus is on trichomoniasis in cattle, particularly the mechanism of infection and the development of chronic carriers of  this disease.


Dr. Dwight Wolfe

Dr. Wolfe’s research has focused on various aspects of bull breeding soundness including the effect of anabolic agents and thermal insult on sperm production. He has been involved in developing or improving surgical repair of bull breeding injuries, the potential embryo transfer for prevention of disease transmission in cattle and goats, and environmental influences on uterine development in calves, lambs and pigs.  He is a member of the recently organized CVM Working Group on Venereal Diseases in Animals and his current focus is on trichomoniasis in cattle with emphasis on pathophysiology and treatment of the infections in bulls.


Dr. Julie Gard

Dr. Gard’s research interests focus on bovine non-surgical embryo collection, transvaginal follicular aspiration, and embryo transfer. Her embryo-pathogen research involves bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) and Bovine Herpes Virus -1. Additional research interests include the evaluation and adaptation of processing procedures for in vivo and in vitro-derived bovine embryos that provide the most viable embryos and which are free of virus. Dr. Gard has studied antiviral agents such as interferon-tau to decrease infective BVDV in culture. Dr. Gard has been involved with studies of antimicrobial peptides,Staphylococcus aureus mastitis, anaplasmosis, and bluetongue virus in cattle. She is also involved in the development of emergency response programs in order to protect our nation’s food supply.

Dr. Herris Maxwell

Dr. Maxwell’s collaborative efforts support research in the role of kisspeptin as an integrator of neuroendocrine control of reproduction in cattle and as a potential treatment in reproductively cycling and seasonally anestrus mares. Additional interests are with the bovine immune response to Chlamydophilia pecorum infections and milk production. He is involved with studies of the role of white tail deer in bovine viral diarrhea virus infections in cattle as well as use of transrectal ultrasound to assess the gestational age of the white tail deer fetus. He is a member of the recently formed Working Group on Venereal Diseases in Animals at the College of Veterinary Medicine and has worked with the description of the histo-architecture of the bovine prepuce and its association with Tritrichomonas fetus infection.

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