Larry A. Cogburn

Department of Animal and Food Sciences

University of Delaware

45 Townsend Hall
Newark, DE 19716

Phone: (302) 831-1335 (Office) -- (302) 831-2138 (Lab)
Fax: (302) 831-2822

  • Ph.D., Environmental Physiology University of Illinois, l978
    M.S., Physiology, North Carolina State University, l974
    B.S., Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, l972

Research Overview:

Research in Dr. Cogburn’s laboratory has focused on the somatotropic and thyrotropic axes and their roles in endocrine regulation of growth and development in the broiler chicken. Earlier work was directed at application of biotechnology for improvement of growth efficiency and/or body composition, which lead to the discovery of novel endocrine manipulations which increase lean body mass of broiler chickens. During the last decade, Dr. Cogburn has focused on the molecular biology of the chicken growth hormone receptor and prolactin receptor genes and their respective importance in normal growth and reproductive development. His research group has discovered unique truncated transcripts of the prolactin receptor gene in the testes of sexually mature chickens that could be important for normal sexual maturation and reproductive competence in the rooster. The identification of the molecular defects in the chicken growth hormone receptor gene, which causes sex-linked dwarfism, has emphasized the importance of genetic models in his studies on endocrine regulation of growth.

Recently, Dr. Cogburn has launched a new research program on functional genomics of the broiler chicken. He hopes to identify genes or gene clusters in key metabolic and regulatory pathways that control expression of important production traits (i.e., growth rate and body composition). This new research focus stems from a sabbatical research project undertaken in France with two populations of divergently selected broiler chickens (fast-growing versus slow growing lines; and, fat versus lean lines) and from the recent development of chicken DNA microarray technology by two colleagues in the department (Drs. Joan Burnside and Robin Morgan). Dr. Cogburn is using tissue-specific chicken DNA microarrays for global gene expression profiling to help determine the genetic basis of such extremes in growth rate or body composition as found in these divergently selected broiler chickens. A major goal of this multi-institutional, multidisciplinary research project is to identify candidate genes and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that can be used in genetic marker assisted selection programs to breed healthier, fast-growing broiler chickens–without excessive body fat.

Dr. Cogburn was a post-doctoral research fellow in Immunobiology with Dr. Bruce Glick, at Mississippi State University from l978 to l979. He was a sabbatical research fellow in Molecular Endocrinology with Dr. Jean Simon, Station de Recherches Avicoles, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Nouzilly, France in 1996.