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Rising Star Faculty Award 2023: Joseph McFadden '03


Dr. Joseph W. McFadden is an Associate Professor of Dairy Cattle Biology and Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University. McFadden received a B.S. degree with Distinction in Research in Animal Science from Cornell University under the mentorship of Dr. Dale Bauman and Dr. Mike Van Amburgh, and earned a M.S. degree from the University of Illinois. He later served as a visiting scholar in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Arizona before completing his doctoral degree in dairy science from Virginia Tech. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neuroscience and Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine.  

In 2012, McFadden joined the faculty as an assistant professor of biochemistry at West Virginia University. McFadden returned to Cornell in 2017, where he leads a program focused on dairy cattle nutrition and metabolism. He has received over $10 million in external support from the National Science Foundation, United States Depart of Agriculture, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Global Methane Hub, and other sponsors. He has authored 52 peer reviewed publications, presented 70 invited talks across the world, written 26 popular press articles including Op-Ed features for Time and The Hill, and spoke at the UN COP27 Climate Change Conference in 2022. He has mentored 20 postdoctoral researchers and interns, 19 graduate students, and over 70 undergraduate researchers.

His recent awards include the Cargill Animal Nutrition Young Scientist Award and the American Society for Animal Science Young Scientist Research Award. Currently, McFadden is leading efforts at Cornell to establish the necessary infrastructure and international engagement to identify next-generation dietary solutions that enhance the energetic conversion of dietary energy to milk energy and reduce methane emissions from cattle production. Such projects including rigorous efficacy and safety testing of feed additives that reduce ruminal methane production from cattle. McFadden is also leading efforts to build a national feed library for the most populous country in the world, India, as a means to build better diets for over 300 million cattle and buffaloes managed by over 75 million Indian smallholder farmers. In addition, McFadden serves as a member of the American Academy of Microbiology Methane Colloquium to develop a scientific roadmap to reduce global methane emissions.

In the classroom, McFadden teaches Nutritional Physiology and Biochemistry. He is also a strong advocate for science communication as demonstrated by his course called Public Communication in Animal Science and filming of a recent documentary focused on sustainable food systems.

At home, McFadden is husband to his wife Caterina McFadden and father to his sons Joseph and William. On their 65-acre farm, the McFadden family operates Ithaca Maple Works, where they tap approximately 1,000 maple trees for maple syrup and value-added maple products, which are sold locally.