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Steven A. Zinn, Department Head and Professor



(860) 486-0861



Office: George White Bldg., Room 108






  • Ph.D. (Animal Science), Michigan State University, 1989
  • M.S. (Animal Science), Michigan State University, 1984
  • B.S. (Animal Science), Cornell University, 1978


Dr. Zinn grew up in Southern New York and received his BS in Animal Science from Cornell University. He then worked as the Research Coordinator at the Cornell Dairy Teaching and Research Unit for 2.5 years. After that, he then received his MS and PhD degrees in Animal Science from Michigan State University. Following completion of a post doc at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, he joined the faculty of Animal Science at the University of Connecticut in 1990.


Area of Interest

My research interests are tissue-specific expression of growth factors during development in livestock and physiological mechanisms involved in efficiency of animal production.  Currently, this work focuses on the effects of poor maternal during gestation on the offspring, also known as maternal programming.  This research primarily uses sheep as a model.

Variations in feed and forage quality and availability can result in periods of sub-optimal nutrition for livestock species. This is problematic as poor maternal nutrition during gestation has immediate and long-lasting consequences on production efficiency and health of offspring including reductions in birth weight, pre-weaning survival, postnatal growth rate, feed utilization, carcass quality and lifespan. Maternal programming is defined as alterations to the intrauterine environment that affect the growth and development of the fetus resulting in changes in offspring growth, metabolism and organogenesis. Organogenesis primarily occurs during gestation making it especially vulnerable to the effects poor maternal nutrition. As a result, multiple organ systems can potentially be affected; thus, predisposing offspring to metabolic and endocrine disorders.

We have shown that both restricted- or over-feeding during gestation can alter lamb growth rates, muscle and adipose composition, and organ size at 1 day of age and 3 months of age. That is, poor maternal nutrition can reduce growth rate and muscle size, increase adipose development, and cause changes in heart and other vital organs. Since these changes are apparent at birth, our current focus is to identify mechanisms at the molecular and cellular level during gestation, including alterations in genetic pathways, hormone secretion, muscle and mesenchymal stem cell function, and the inflammatory response with the overall goal to identify treatments to alleviate the negative impacts of poor maternal nutrition on the offspring.  


Classes Taught

ANSC 3316 Endocrinology of Farm Animals
ANSC 3317W Scientific Writing in Endocrinology of Farm Animals
ANSC 4697W Undergraduate Honors Thesis Writing
UNIV 1810 Animal Science Learning Community

Awards and Achievements

  • 2016 - Elected President-Elect of the American Society of Animal Science
  • 2015 - 2016 - University Teaching Fellow Award from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
  • 2016 - UConn Foundation Alumni Faculty Excellence Undergraduate Teaching Award
  • 2015 - Named an ASAS Fellow in the Administration Category
  • 2015 - Named a Top 20 Outstanding Animal Science Professor by vettechcollege.com
  • 2014 - H. Allen Tucker Lactation and Endocrinology Award
  • 2014 - CPIA Academic Advisor of the Year Award
  • 2011-2015 - Editor and Founder of Animal Frontiers: The Review Magazine of Animal Agriculture
  • 2010-2012 - Served on the Provost's Library Advisory Committee
  • 2008-2014 - Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Animal Science. This is the premier animal science journal. Previously, he had served as associate Editor of Physiology (2003-2005) and then Division Editor of Growth, Reproduction and Physiology (2005-2008).
  • 2006 - Elected to a two-year term to the President's Athletic Advisory Committee
  • 2003 - College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Research Excellence Award
  • 2002 - UConn Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • 2001 - 2002 First Year Experience Teaching Award
  • 2001 - 2002 - Outstanding Undergraduate Faculty Advisor for the University of Connecticut
  • 1994 - Northeast ADSA/ASAS Young Scientist Award


Zinn, S.A., C. Faustman, J.W. Riesen.  1992.  Developing Oral Communication Skills in Animal Science Classes.  NACTA J. 37:14-17.

Rausch, M.I., M.W. Tripp, K.E. Govoni, W. Zhang, W.J. Weber, B.A. Crooker, T.A. Hoagland and S.A. Zinn. 2002. The response of body weight gain, somatotropin, insulin-like growth factor I and insulin-like growth factor binding proteins-2 and -3 to limit feeding and somatotropin supplementation in growing beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 80:94-100.

Govoni, K.E., X.C. Tian, G.W. Kazmer, M.T. Taneja, B.P. Enright, A.L. Rivard, X. Yang and S.A. Zinn. 2002.  Age-related changes of the somatotropic axis in cloned Holstein cattle.  Biol. Reprod. 66:1293-1298.

Govoni, K.E., T.A. Hoagland and S.A. Zinn. 2003.  The ontogeny of the somatotropic axis in male and female Hereford calves from birth to one year of age. J. Anim. Sci. 81:2811-2817.

Govoni, K.E., T.A. Hoagland and S.A. Zinn. 2004.  The ontogeny of the somatotropic axis in Hereford calves from birth to one year of age and its response to administration of exogenous bovine somatotropin. J. Anim. Sci.82:1646-1655.

Velayudhan, B.T., K. E. Govoni, T. A. Hoagland, and S A. Zinn.  2007. Growth rate and concentrations of the somatotropic axis in beef cattle administered exogenous bovine somatotropin beginning at 200, 250 and 300 days of age. J. Anim. Sci. 85:2866-2872.

Richmond, J.P, J. Skinner, J. Gilbert, L.M. Mazzaro, and S.A. Zinn.  2008.  Comparison of the Somatotropic Axis in Free-ranging and Rehabilitated Harbor Seal Pups (Phoca vitulina). J. Zoo Wild. Med. 39:342-348.

Richmond, J.P., T. Norris, S.A. Zinn. 2010. Re-alimentation in harbor seal pups: Effects on the somatotropic axis and growth rate. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 165: 286-292. 

Richmond, J.P., T. Jeanniard du Dot, D.A.S. Rosen, and S.A. Zinn. 2010. Seasonal influence on the response of the somatotropic axis to nutrient restriction and re-alimentation in captive Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). J. Exp. Zool. 313A:144–156, 2010.

Govoni, K.E., D. Goodman, R.M. Maclure L. Penfold, and S.A. Zinn. 2011. Serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-2 and -3 in eight hoofstock species. Zoo Biol. 30: 275-284.

Zinn, S.A. 2011. Animal Frontiers: The birth of the review magazine of animal agriculture. Animal Frontiers 1 (issue 1):1-2.

Glynn E.R., A.L. Sanchez, S.A. Zinn, T.A. Hoagland, and K.E. Govoni. 2013 Culture conditions for equine bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and expression of key transcription factors during their differentiation into osteoblasts. J. Anim. Sci. Biotech. 4:40 (DOI: 10.1186/2049-1891-4-40).

Hoffman, M.L., M.A. Rokosa, S.A. Zinn, T.A. Hoagland, and K.E. Govoni. 2014. Poor maternal nutrition during gestation in sheep reduces circulating concentrations of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-3 in offspring. Domest. Anim. Endocrinol. 49:39-48.

Zinn, S.A. and A.M. Beck. 2014. The human-animal bond and domestication: Through the ages…animals in our lives. Animal Frontiers 4 (issue 3): 5-6.

Reed, S.A., J.S. Raja, M.L. Hoffman, S.A. Zinn and K.E. Govoni. 2014. Poor maternal nutrition inhibits muscle development in ovine offspring. J. Anim. Sci. Biotech. doi: 10.1186/2049-1891-5-43.


Zinn, A.T., M.D. Foreman, L. Griffin Masso, D.T. Ouimette and S.A. Zinn. 2014. Learning Communities: Animal Science at the University of Connecticut. Natural Sci. Education. 44: 6-10. doi: 10.2134/nse2014.09.0021. 

Wulster-Radcliffe, M., D.L. Hamernick, L Reynolds, G.S. Lewis and S.A. Zinn. 2015. Scientific publications: From the stone tablet to the electronic tablet. Animal Frontiers 5 (issue 3): 45-51.


Zinn, S.A. 2015 H. Allen Tucker Lactation and Endocrinology Award: Graduate Education: Lessons from my mentor. J. Anim. Sci. 93: 12: 5594-5596. doi: 10.2527/jas2015-8869


Jones, A.K., R.E. Gately, K.K. McFadden, S.A. Zinn, K.E. Govoni, and S.A. Reed. 2016. Transabdominal ultrasound for detection of pregnancy, fetal and placental landmarks, and fetal age before day 45 of gestation in the sheep. Theriogenology 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2015.11.002.


Hoffman, M.L., K.N. Peck, M.E. Forella, A.R. Fox, K.E. Govoni, and S.A. Zinn. 2016. The effects of poor maternal nutrition during gestation on postnatal growth and development of lambs J. Anim. Sci. 94: 2: 789-79910.2527/jas2015-9933.


Raja, J.S., M. L. Hoffman, K. E. Govoni, S. A. Zinn, and S. A. Reed. 2016. Restricted maternal nutrition alters myogenic regulatory factor expression in satellite cells of ovine offspring. Animal 10.1017/S1751731116000070.


Hoffman, M.L., K.N. Peck, J.L. Wegrzyn, S.A. Reed, S.A. Zinn, and K.E. Govoni. 2016. Poor maternal nutrition during gestation alters the expression of genes involved in muscle development and metabolism in lambs. J. Anim. Sci. doi: 10.2527/jas.2016-0570.


Pillai, S. M., A. K. Jones, M. L. Hoffman, K. K. McFadden, S. A. Reed, S. A. Zinn, and K. E. Govoni. 2016. Fetal and organ development at gestational days 45, 90, 135 and at birth of lambs exposed to under- or over-nutrition during gestation. Translational Animal Science (In Press).


Hobbies/Non-Academic Interests

Auto racing


Last updated: 11/02/2016 9:27:31

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