Freeman honored by AAAS

Tracy Deutmeyer

Known internationally for his research with dairy cattle, Iowa State professor Albert Freeman was recently elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

AAAS senior communications officer Ellen Cooper said AAAS is the world’s largest federation of scientists. AAAS also publishes Science journal and conducts a variety of programs about education, policy and international cooperation.

With 282 other scientists, including 13 international recipients, Freeman will be recognized on Feb. 15 at the AAAS annual meeting in Seattle, Cooper said.

Cooper said the AAAS elected Freeman ” … for excellence in research in quantitative genetics and immunogenetics in dairy cattle, excellence in investigations of mitochrondrial DNA and excellence in graduate teaching.”

Freeman said most of his work with dairy cattle involves finding ways to get sires, or bulls, to produce daughters that can provide the best possible milk production and has developed ways to determine which sire’s daughters would be born with the least difficulty.

He has also made advances in the mitochrondrial structure of dairy cattle’s cells. According to Freeman the mitochondria of dairy cattle’s cells produce tremendous amounts of energy, and that is why it is important to study the mitochondria.

Freeman said a cow that produces 19,000 pounds of milk per year could provide milk for a family that drinks three gallons of milk a week for 14 years.

Working with Dr. Mark Kerhli Jr. of the National Animal Disease Center and Al Kock of 21st Century Genetics, Freeman has also helped predict sires’ immune profile.

“Working with about 60 sires, we worked to see if we could predict the health of the sires’ daughters in commercial herds,” Freeman said.

After receiving his Ph.D. from Cornell University, Freeman came to ISU in 1957.

“I didn’t think I was going to be here this long but I didn’t think I was going to get this many opportunities here. I have gotten great opportunities here,” he said.

Freeman has earned many other awards for his research with dairy cattle, including the Rockefeller Prentice Memorial Animal Breeding and Genetics Award, the National Association of Animal Breeders Research Award and the American Dairy Science Association Borden Award.