AJ Knowles Joins ABBA as Director of Breed Improvement

March 9th, 2023 
by Caydi Blaha

Please join us in welcoming the newest member of the ABBA team, A.J. Knowles! Knowles joins the American Brahman Breeders Association as the Director of Breed Improvement.

A.J. has lived in numerous places inside and outside of Texas. He began his undergraduate degree at West Texas A&M before transferring to Texas A&M in College Station, where he received his Bachelor’s in Animal Science and obtained a Master’s degree in Animal Breeding with Dr. Andy Herring supervising. Since then, he has studied at Virginia Tech and is in the process of completing a PhD in Animal Science at the University of Missouri with Dr. Jared Decker, studying the genetics and genomics of beef cattle.

“I am excited to bring my research network, experience, and perspectives to the American Brahman Breeders Association, and I hope that together we can help the breed make great strides in genetic progress for a multitude of traits,” said Knowles.

His work has been variable, beginning with studying immune response and breed-of-origin effects in Bos indicus – Bos taurus crossbred steers that were challenged with Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD). Since then, his work has focused primarily on genetic evaluations and genotype-by-environment interactions. In his time at Virginia Tech, he composed a program that compiles the National Aeronautics and Space Administrations’ satellite weather data and attached weather events to cattle, which will eventually allow for the integration of weather data as an effect in models. More recently however, he has worked closely with the American Angus Association in order to re-evaluate their current fertility traits, as well as investigate the heritability’s and model accuracies of potential new traits for their evaluation.

AJ can be reached via email at ajknowles@brahman.org.