May 10, 2010

Barry A. Ball, professor and John P. Hughes Endowed Chair in Equine Reproduction at the University of California, Davis, accepted the position of the Albert G. Clay Endowed Chair in Equine Reproduction at the University of Kentucky's Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center. Ball will join the UK Department of Veterinary Science as a faculty member in December.

"The appointment of Dr. Barry Ball to the Albert G. Clay Endowed Chair in Equine Reproduction will help us form a critical mass of researchers in the field of equine reproduction at the Gluck Equine Research Center," said Mats Troedsson, chair of UK's Department of Veterinary Science and director of the Gluck Center. "Dr. Ball's interest, expertise and research credentials make him a good fit within our group and provide a valuable addition to the horse industry in Kentucky. We are very fortunate to have the support of the Clay family to allow us to recruit internationally recognized researchers like Dr. Ball to the Gluck Center."

Ball did undergraduate studies in animal science at Virginia Tech. He received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Georgia and his doctor of philosophy degree in veterinary medicine from Cornell University. In 1987, he received his board certification as a diplomate in the American College of Theriogenologists, a branch of veterinary medicine concerned with reproduction. He holds a veterinary license in North Carolina and California. Ball has been a faculty member at UC Davis since 1996.

At UC Davis, Ball's research in equine reproduction emphasizes gamete biology, fertilization, embryonic development, embryonic loss and endocrinology. Ball also served as the vice-chair in the department of population health and reproduction from 2005-2006.

The Clay Chair, established in 1999, was originally designed to focus on stallion reproduction. When Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome severely impacted Kentucky's breeding season in 2002, the Gluck Equine Research Foundation board voted to change the focus of the position to neonatal pathology before the focus was changed again and broadened to encompass all equine reproduction research.

The current focus of the Clay Chair is developing a research program that leads to the advancement of knowledge and understanding of equine reproduction as related to biology, physiology, endocrinology, pathology or immunology.

"I am deeply grateful for the support of three generations of the Clay family, not just for helping us establish this endowment, but for the leadership they have provided to the University and to Kentucky agriculture over so many years," said Scott Smith, dean of UK's College of Agriculture.

Prior to Ball's position at UC Davis, he was at Cornell University from 1987 to 1996, first as an assistant professor of theriogenology and then an associate professor of theriogenology; a graduate research assistant at Cornell from 1984 to 1987; resident in reproduction at the University of Florida, clinical theriogenology, from 1982 to 1984; and a veterinarian at Washington County Veterinary Service, a bovine and equine practice in Abingdon, Va., from 1981 to 1982. 

"Barry Ball is a well-respected scientist and researcher. He has contributed significantly to the investigation and understanding of reproductive questions in both the mare and the stallion," said Walter Zent, Gluck Equine Research Foundation chair and veterinarian at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington. "Barry is not only a world-class researcher but also an excellent clinician.

"His contributions to the equine industry in Kentucky will be considerable, and he will add greatly to the team of researchers in reproduction that are already assembled at the Gluck Center. He is a researcher of the stature that the Clay Chair must attract in order to fulfill the lofty visions of the donors."

Ball has published more than 100 scientific research papers. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American College of Theriogenologists, Society of Theriogenology and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Ball also has an international research interest in Australia, New Zealand, South America and Europe.

For more information on the Gluck Equine Research Center, visit http://www.ca.uky.edu/gluck.