George Mason University

Located for Opportunity

Mason is...Pioneering Research

Driven to Serve

Goats of varying colors

Jennifer Woodward­-Greene took pictures of goats to help develop an analytical system for future researchers, who will be able to share data without having to physically handle every goat themselves.

Student Seeks Sustainable Solution to Hunger

Equipped with measuring tape, camera and a few other tools, a Mason doctoral student is applying lessons learned from the U.S. dairy industry to goats in Africa as a way to combat hunger.

Jennifer Woodward-­Greene traveled to Ethiopia and Kenya to measure goats and sample their DNA as part of her work with the global hunger and food security program Feed the Future, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service and for her PhD in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

“One of the main objectives is to work with the people in their own country to develop sustainable solutions to the problem of hunger, rather than only providing short-­term aid,” Woodward­-Greene says of the United States Agency for International Development-­funded Feed the Future initiative.

Researchers working in goats can learn a thing or two from experience with cows. U.S. dairy cows have increased milk production more than four-fold in the past 40 years due to better breeding, says Curt Van Tassell, a leading bovine geneticist with the USDA’s ARS and an affiliate professor at Mason.

Woodward­-Greene adds, “We have fewer cows to make much more milk, leaving less of an environmental footprint.”