Department of Animal Sciences
School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Graduate Group: Anatomy
Thesis Topic: Factors in the control of feed intake in ponies
Dr. Ralston's primary focus is on the effect of diet on glucose and insulin metabolism in young horses as part of the Young Horse Research and Training Program she initiated in 1999. She is using metabonomic analysis of Nuclear Magnetic Spectroscopy spectra of blood and saliva in collaboration with Dr. Istvan Pelczer of Princeton University to detect metabolic abnormalities and to identify horses with abnormal glucose metabolism. This research will also hopefully lead to the development of rations that will reduce the risk of developmental orthopedic disease in genetically predisposed foals. Previously her research focused on metabolism and nutrient requirements of geriatric horses, which was in part responsible for the formulation of "senior" feeds for failing old horses. Another on-going research interest is the effect of prolonged transport on immune function in horses and dietary supplements (ie. vitamins C and E) that might reduce the incidence of infectious diseases in horses transported long distances.
Dr. Ralston received the 2010 SEBS Academic Professional Excellence Award under the category of Academic Innovation.