Dr. Sajjad Toghiani has joined USDA AGIL* as Research Geneticist Position as of January 31, 2022.
Dr. Toghiani’s research and academic background are cross-disciplinary with skillsets in statistics, genetics, genomics, and data science for animal breeding and genetics applications. His areas of interest are focused on the application of genomic information in livestock including genomic selection, genome-wide association studies, genotype imputation, and population genomics. His goals are to conduct research using the cutting edge of genomic research in animal breeding to develop decision-making tools and improved algorithms to enhance animal health and welfare, environmental sustainability, climate adaptability, and production of livestock in a cost-effective manner for producers.
Dr. Toghiani grew up in the USA and Iran. When he was in high school, learning genetics in science classes fascinated and inspired him to choose it as a course of study at the university level. He attended Shiraz University where he received his B.S. in Animal Science in 2005 and the University of Guilan where he earned his M.S. in Animal Breeding and Genetics in 2007. He moved to the USA to continue his graduate education and enrolled in the University of Georgia’s Animal and Dairy Science graduate program for Animal Breeding and Genetics, where he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in 2015 and 2018, respectively. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on utilizing the fixation index (FST) as a screening tool to prioritize SNPs to enable detecting relevant QTLs. Importantly, this novel approach reduces the dimensionality of high-density SNP panels and increases the prediction accuracy of the genetic merit of animals.
In October 2018, Dr. Toghiani served as a postdoctoral research fellow with USDA ARS’s* Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory where he studied the impact of cold stress on the performance of beef cattle in Northern Plains, genomic composition, and selection signatures of a composite beef cattle population, and the characterization of inbreeding and inbreeding depression using genomic information. Since March 2020, he has worked as an Animal Scientist with Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL-USDA) where he worked with selection indices for ranking dairy animals, whole-genome sequencing, and feed efficiency in dairy cattle.
As an Animal Geneticist, Dr. Toghiani believes that developing sustainable dairy production requires a systems approach that involves a multidisciplinary action with stakeholder engagement.
Together with the CDCB team, Dr. Toghiani looks forward to continuing to serve the dairy industry through positively impacting dairy research genetics.
*United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL) and USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS)