Who We Are

We facilitate the well-being of animals using sound science and ethics to investigate and promote the best animal care and management practices.

CAWS Director: Candace Croney, Ph.D.

Steering Committee:


Scientists with the USDA-ARS Livestock Behavior Research Unit are Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Animal Sciences.


Kolapo Ajuwon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Animal Science

Research Intersts: food animal well-being; factors and nutrition that affect insulin resistant phenotypes in adipose tissue.

Alan Beck

Alan Beck, Sc.D.

Director, Center for the Human-Animal Bond
Dorothy N. McAllister Professor of Animal Ecology

Research Interests: Human-animal bond; urban animal ecology; animal companionship; the effects of animal use for therapy.

Dr. Brady

Colleen Brady, Ph.D

Professor, Youth Development and Agricultural Education

Research Interests: Human behaviors that impact animal welfare (specifically equine) and how we can design interventions to alter human behavior to enhance animal welfare.


Paul Brown

Professor of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Research Interests: aquaculture and aquatic animal nutrition


Joseph Camp, Ph. D.

Professor of Veterinary Parasitology
Secretary of Faculties

Research Interests: parasite epidemiology; food animal and non-food animal well-being.

Heng-wei Chang

Heng-wei Cheng, Ph.D.

Research Biologist
USDA-ARS Livestock Behavior Research Unit

Dr. Cheng has been a research scientists at USDA-ARS LBRU and Purdue University for 13 years.  Dr. Cheng’s research has been focused on animal well-being, with emphases on the interactions of the psychological, genetic, neurobiological, physiological, and immunological events that alter an animal’s adaptability to husbandry environments. His current research emphases are on 1) pain in farm animals, following various management practices, such as beak trimming in poultry; 2) genetic selection for improving animal well-being; 3) preventing aggression by modification of the serotonin system; 4) developing intervention strategies for increasing heat tolerance; and 5) developing alternative housing systems for improving animal health and production.


Linda Chezem, J.D.

Professor Youth Development and Agricultural Education

Research Interests: ethical issues in forensic science; ethical and legal issues in research; justice system education; legal issues in alcohol use and misuse; agricultural law.

Candace Croney

Candace Croney, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Animal Welfare Science
Associate Professor of Animal Behavior and Well-being

Research Interests: cognition; companion and agricultural animal welfare; enrichment; animal bioethics; public perceptions of animal agriculture.


Nancy Edwards, Ph.D., ANP, NP

Associate Professor of Nursing
Director, AGNP Program

Research Interests: adult nursing; gerontology; development of non-pharmacologic care protocols for neuroprogressive disease patients.

Brianna Gaskill

Susan Eicher, Ph.D.

Research Physiologist (Animals)
USDA-ARS Livestock Behavior Research Unit

Research Interests: Immunology, Behavior and Well-Being

Marisa Erasmus

Marisa Erasmus, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist

Research Interests: Animal Well-Being


Lynetta Freeman, D.V.M

Associate Professor if Small Animal Surgery

Research Interests: minimally invasive surgery; non-food animal well-being; interface between human-animal bond and animal welfare.

Brianna Gaskill

Brianna Gaskill, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Animal Behavior and Welfare 

Research Interests: applied ethology, enrichment design and application, improving husbandry techniques, and how environment can affect scientific results when not tailored to the animal's needs and motivations.

Darrin Karcher

Darrin Karcher, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Animal Sciences, Poultry Extension Specialist

Research Interests: the impact of moving poultry to new housing systems in the table egg industry factoring inthe management challenges, food safety implications and hen well-being.

Brad Kim

Brad Kim, Ph.D.

Assitant Professor of Animal Science

Research Interests: muscle biology, biochemistry and meat processing to improve quality and functional properties of muscle-based foods.

Janice Kritchevsky

Janice Kritchevsky, V.M.D., M.S.

Professor, Large Animal Medicine

Research Interests: equine endocrinology and equine geriatric medicine; the welfare implications of chronic laminitis and other lameness in horses

Donald C. Lay Jr.

Donald C. Lay Jr.

Ph.D. Texas A&M University 1995
Livestock Behavior Research Unit
USDA-Agricultural Research Service

Don's research focuses on applied ethology and stress physiology. His recent projects are aimed at: increasing sow longevity, developing an alternative, humane method of euthanizing piglets, increasing neonatal piglet survival, investigating affective states in swine, and understanding the methods in which animals adapt to climate change.


George Moore, D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D.

Professor of Clinical Epidemiology
Director, Clinical Trials Group
Professor, Small Animal Internal Medicine

Research Interests: companion animal epidemiology; infectious disease; zoonoses; evidence-based medicine.

Bill Muir

William Muir, Ph.D.

Professor of Animal Sciences

Research Interests: breeding and genetics; poultry; aquaculture; developing genetic methods to improve adaptability, stress resistance, and animal well-being.


Jiqin Ni, Ph. D.

Associate Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Research Interests: methodology and technology in air quality, bioenergy from agricultural wastes, and air and water pollution abatement; livestock ad rural waste systems engineering.

Niwako Ogata

Niwako Ogata, B.V.Sc., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Animal Behavior

Research Interests: pursuing mental health and well-being in companion animals; translational research between the human psychiatric field and veterinary behavior.

Maggie O'Haire

Marguerite (Maggie) O'Haire, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Human-Animal Interaction in Comparative Pathobiology

Research Interests: animal-assisted intervention; human-animal interaction in populations such as children with autism, ADHD, cancer, and the general population; www.humananimalinteraction.org


Audrey Ruple, D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Public Health Epidemiology

Research Interests: infectious disease epidemiology; non=food animal well-being; public issues and animal welfare.


Allan Schinckel, Ph.D., M.S.

Professor of Animal Sciences

Research Interests: breeding, genetics, and growth of swine.

Hsin-Yi Weng

Hsin-Yi Weng, B.V.M., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Clinical/Analytical Epidemiology

Research Interests: epidemiologic methods and their applications to human-animal interaction studies and animal welfare sciences

Nicole Olynk Widmar

Nicole Olynk Widmar, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics

Research Interests: farm business management; on-farm decisions making; integrating consumer demand for livestock housing and handling practices into production decisions

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Stacy M. Zuelly

Stacy M. Zuelly, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Animal Sciences

Research Interests: Live animal traits/treatments and the impact these have on fresh and processed meat quality traits.

Affiliate Members

Dr. Ahmed Mohammed

Ahmed Mohammed

Assistant Lecturer of Animal Behaviour and Management, Assiut University, Egypt

Research Interests: Feasible feed additive that can ameliorate heat stress destructive effects in poultry

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Graduate Students and Post-Doctoral Researchers

Dr. Bauer

Amy Bauer

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Advisor: Candace Croney

Research Interests: Infectious disease epidemiology

Jessica Bibbo

Jessica Bibbo

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Advisor: Maggie O'Haire

Research interests: Human-animal interaction

Lindsay Fisher

Lindsay Fisher

Graduate Student

Advisor: Candace Croney

Research interests: Canine behavior and well-being

Morgan Garvey

Morgan Garvey

Masters Student, Animal Sciences

Advisor: Susan Pruiett

Research interests: Anxiety-like behavior at weaning in piglets

Noemie Guerin

Noémie Guérin

Masters student

Advisor: Maggie O'Haire

Research interests: Human animal interaction

Schule Liu

Shule Liu

Ph.D Student, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Advisor: Jiqin Ni

Research interests: Animal living environments

Lynda Mugenda

Lynda Mugenda

Graduate Student

Advisor: Candace Croney

Research interests: Canine behavior and well-being

Lindsey Robbins

Lindsey Robbins

Ph.D. Student, Animal Sciences

Advisor: Brianna Gaskill

Research interests: Animal welfare, thermal stress, enrichment and animal behavior

Kerri Rodriguez

Kerri Rodriguez

Ph.D Student, Comparative Pathobiology

Advisor: Maggie O'Haire

Research interests: Human-animal interaction

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CAWS Graphic/logo Designer

Sarah E. Nixon

Sarah E. Nixon

Graphic Designer

Sarah Nixon is a graduate of Purdue University's Class of 2014 and received her degree in Creative Writing and Professional Writing. Originally from Indiana, she is currently living in San Francisco, California and fulfilling her career dream by working in the video game industry. When not gaming, she tries to tackle the foe that is the empty Word doc, plays with her cat, and pretends to know what she's doing in Photoshop. A strong proponent of ethical animal husbandry practices, she was excited to help the Center for Animal Welfare Science with some of their research and now this design project.

Read more about our newest CAWS members

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Interested in becoming a member of the Center for Animal Welfare Science?

Contact Us

Contact the Center for Animal Welfare Science

Director: Dr. Candace Croney
Email: ccroney@purdue.edu
Phone: 765-496-6665

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

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