Dr. Allen is a veteran animal scientist who has taught and conducted research at Iowa State University, Michigan State University and since 1980, the University of Arizona. Dr. Allen’s major field of study deals with animal growth and development.
The focal point of research in Dr. Allen’s laboratory is the growth and repair of skeletal muscle in domestic animals and humans. The key player in both of these processes is the satellite cell. Satellite cells are muscle stem cells that are generally found in a quiescent, or dormant, state in close association with muscle fibers. Although sparsely distributed in postnatal muscle, they play an important role in regulating muscle growth by dividing and fusing with existing muscle fibers. The result is a net increase in the number of muscle fiber nuclei and hence, an increase in the growth potential of the fiber. In injured muscle, satellite cells are stimulated to divide and form new fibers that replace damaged muscle fibers. Consequently, the rate and efficiency of muscle growth and repair are dependent on the activity of satellite cells, and therefore, satellite cell function is relevant to muscle growth in domestic animals, to human muscle disease and injury and to problems associated with aging.
Research goals in Dr. Allen’s laboratory have been to unravel the mechanisms responsible for satellite cell activation from the quiescent state and to understand the events leading to cell division and cell migration leading to muscle fiber formation. This problem is being approached by integrating experiments at the cellular, tissue, and whole animal level.
Shane C. Burgess, director of the Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology at Mississippi State University, has been appointed the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona.
Burgess succeeds Eugene G. Sander, who recently retired as dean and vice provost and will serve as UA president beginning Aug. 1, while the Arizona Board of Regents searches for a new chief executive.
A native of New Zealand, Burgess has worked around the world as a practicing veterinarian and scientist. Currently, he is the associate dean for strategic initiatives and economic development in MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and a professor in the department of basic sciences in the vet school.
His areas of expertise include cancer biology, virology, proteomics, immunology and bioinformatics. Since 1997 he has written 110 peer-reviewed publications.
The first in his family to earn college degree, Burgess graduated from Massey University in New Zealand in 1989 with a degree in veterinary science, and in 1998 with a doctoral degree in virology and immunology from the University of Bristol in England. After graduating, he spent several years working in and managing veterinary clinical practices in Australia and the UK, including horses, farm animals, pets, wild and zoo animals, and emergency medicine and surgery.
He also managed an aquaculture facility in Scotland and did a radiology residency at Murdoch University in Perth in western Australia, where he also was a founder of Perth’s first emergency veterinary clinic.
Burgess joined the UK World Reference Laboratory for Exotic Diseases during the 2001 foot and mouth disease crisis, where he led the data compilation and reporting office. For his efforts he was awarded the Institute for Animal Health Director’s Award for Service.
In 2002, Burgess became a professor in the department of basic sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State, teaching immunology and virology. His duties there grew to include serving as the director of the MSU Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology.