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Hansen, Stephanie

Published onMar 12, 2021
Hansen, Stephanie

Stephanie Hansen, 2016

Commissioned by University Museums and the Office of the Vice President for Research. U2017.108

STEPHANIE HANSEN (BS ’02 animal science) is a professor of animal science at Iowa State and a leading cattle nutrition researcher who works with veterinarians, animal nutritionists, biochemists, and extension personnel to improve the efficiency of beef cattle production.

During her childhood days in northwest Iowa near Sergeant Bluff, Hansen was surrounded by beef cattle. Involvement in 4-H clubs in her youth helped her solidify her interest in beef cattle, and influenced her decision to attend Iowa State to pursue a career in animal science.

As an undergraduate at Iowa State, Hansen was an outstanding student involved in the University Honors program. Toward the end of her studies, Hansen said several faculty mentors “gently nudged” her toward graduate school. After earning a master’s and a doctoral degree at North Carolina State University, she returned to ISU as an assistant professor in 2009.

Dr. Hansen now runs the Hansen Ruminant Nutrition Lab, where she has been granted more than $7 million for her research. Her most recent grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is to study the use of zinc to support growth in cattle.

Her research already has had a significant impact in Iowa. The increase in ethanol production brought an increase in fuel coproducts, or parts of corn left over after producing fuel. Farmers were happy to have a new, inexpensive feed for their cattle, but the high concentrations of sulfur found in those coproducts can be toxic to animals. Over five years, Hansen and her team discovered ways to reduce the risk of sulfur toxicity in cattle consuming ethanol coproducts. The group’s recommendations have brought down feeding prices while protecting cattle health.

Living by the philosophy of “do what you like, like what you do,” Hansen spends her free time capturing landscapes and wildlife through her camera lens, hiking in some of the most beautiful places on Earth with her best friend, and most recently, has begun writing fiction.

She currently lives near Nevada and raises Angus cattle.

Vice President for Research, Sarah Nusser: Stephanie Hansen is a stellar example of our next generation leaders at ISU, with a passion for mentoring her graduate students and a commitment to making an impact on the livestock industry through her research in ruminant nutrition.

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