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Leadership of UK Ag Equine Programs transitions to MacLeod

Leadership of UK Ag Equine Programs transitions to MacLeod

Leadership of UK Ag Equine Programs transitions to MacLeod


A familiar face is taking the leadership reins of University of Kentucky’s Ag Equine Programs. James N. MacLeod, John S. and Elizabeth A. Knight Chair within the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, is the program’s new director — a repeat performance, as he also holds the distinction of being its very first leader shortly after the program’s formation.

MacLeod assumed leadership Oct. 1 from Mick Peterson, faculty member with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, who is transitioning exclusively into an industry-critical role of surface safety research and service. Peterson is considered the world’s leading expert on track surfaces and surface testing and has spent the past several decades of his career implementing a robust surface monitoring and testing program. With the recent announcement of funding by The Jockey Club, Peterson will now focus on enhancing current testing capabilities and in building a research program at UK devoted to surface safety advancements, including efforts that will come from the recently-announced National Thoroughbred Racing Association grant.

MacLeod, who previously served as UK Ag Equine Programs director from 2008-2011, is also the director of the UK Equestrian Sports Research Initiative. He leads the Gluck Center’s musculoskeletal laboratory, work he’s done over the past 16 years. His laboratory has gained national recognition in studying cartilage cell biology and through contributions to the equine genome project, focusing on the growth and maturation of articular cartilage, development and progression of osteoarthritis and the repair of articular lesions.

"Academically and geographically, the University of Kentucky has every opportunity for continued national and international leadership in areas of equine science and scholarship. I am honored to serve as director of Ag Equine Programs,” MacLeod said. "UK is quite unique with regard to the breadth and scope of faculty and staff expertise actively participating in equine programs.”

“Our college continually strives to provide the very highest caliber of service to our equine industry. We are becoming an equine safety resource to this global industry and consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have top notch faculty like Dr. MacLeod and Dr. Peterson to lead the way,” said Dean Nancy Cox.

MacLeod earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and both his clinical doctorate in veterinary medicine and a doctorate in pathology from the University of Pennsylvania.  MacLeod served as a regulatory veterinarian for the Delaware Racing Association and has had many productive research collaborations with leading veterinary clinicians over the years. He holds two patents.

He was awarded the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence in 1998, was co-recipient of the college’s Prestigious Research Paper Award in 2009, served on the Morris Animal Foundation, Large Animal Scientific Advisory Board from 2012-2015 and is currently on the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Scientific Advisory Board.

MacLeod also co-teaches the capstone class within the Equine Science and Management undergraduate degree program. He currently advises four graduate students and a post-doctoral scholar in the Gluck Center.

Equine Extension Livestock Research

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