Dan Columbus

 Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:


Dr. Columbus joined the Prairie Swine Centre in 2015 as a Research Associate in Nutrition and was promoted to Research Scientist in 2016.  He is also Adjunct Professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan.  He is responsible for overseeing the nutrition research program at Prairie Swine Centre and development of collaborations between PSC and University of Saskatchewan.

Previously, Dr. Columbus was a Postdoctoral Associate at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Centre at Baylor College of Medicine.  His research at the CNRC focused on understanding the physiology of muscle growth and on developing strategies to improve lean tissue gain as a means to improve development and long-term health of low-birth weight infants.  Dr. Columbus completed his PhD at the University of Guelph where he studied nitrogen metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract of the growing pig and the interaction of dietary nutrients/ingredients and gut microbes and the effect on amino acid availability.

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  • PhD, University of Guelph, 2012
  • MSc, University of Guelph, 2008
  • BSc, University of Guelph, 2004


  • Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (NSERC), 2010
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 2009
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology, 2009
  • Animal Nutrition Association of Canada Graduate Scholarship
  • Keith Gilmore Foundation Post-Graduate Scholarship

Current Research Program

Dr. Columbus’ current research focuses on four main themes:

  1. Interaction of nutrition and health status on nutrient utilization and pig robustness.
  2. Impact of early-life nutrition on long-term growth performance and health.
  3. Evaluation of alternative feed ingredients and feeding practices.
  4. Alternatives to in-feed antibiotics to maintain growth performance and health.

Professional Associations

  • Member, American Society of Animal Science
  • Member, Canadian Society of Animal Science
  • Member, American Society for Nutrition


  • Reviewer: Journal of Nutrition, Canadian Journal of Animal Science, Amino Acids, Cereal Chemistry

Selected Publications

Kao M, Columbus DA, Suryawan A, Steinhoff-Wagner J, Hernandez-Garcia A, Nguyen HV, Fiorotto ML, Davis TA (2016) Enteral β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate supplementation increases protein synthesis in skeletal muscle of neonatal pigs. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. In press.

Manjarin R, Columbus DA, Fiorotto ML, Suryawan A, Nguyen HV, Hernandez-Garcia AD, Hoang NM, Davis TA (2015) Leucine supplementation of a chronically restricted protein and energy diet enhances mTOR pathway activation but not muscle protein synthesis in neonatal pigs. Amino Acids. 48:257-267.

Columbus DA, Cant JP, de Lange CFM (2015) Estimating fermentative amino acid catabolism in the small intestine of growing pigs. Animal. 9:1769-1777.

Columbus DA, Steinhoff-Wagner J, Suryawan A, Nguyen HV, Hernandez-Garcia A, Fiorotto ML, and Davis TA (2015) Impact of leucine supplementation on protein synthesis and lean growth in neonatal pigs. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 309:E601-610.

Mansilla WD, Columbus DA, Htoo JK, and de Lange CFM (2015) Nitrogen absorbed from the large intestine increases whole body nitrogen retention in pigs fed a diet deficient in dispensable amino acid nitrogen. J. Nutr. 145:1163-1169

Columbus DA, Fiorotto ML, and Davis TA (2014) Leucine is a major regulator of muscle protein synthesis in neonates. Amino Acids. 47:259-270.

Libao-Mercad  AJ, Columbus D, and de Lange CFM (2014) Influence of a flooding dose of valine on key indicators of metabolic status in the growing pig. J. Anim. Physiol. An. N. 99:100-106.

Columbus DA, Lapierre H, Htoo JK, and de Lange CFM (2014) Impact of supplying nitrogen into the large intestine on nitrogen-balance and urea kinetics in growing pigs fed a valine-limiting diet. J. Nutr. 144:610-620.

Columbus D, and de Lange CFM (2012) Evidence for validity of ileal amino acid digestibility coefficients in monogastrics. Br. J. Nutr. 108:S264-S272.

Columbus D, Niven SJ, Zhu CL, and de Lange CFM (2010) Phosphorus utilization in starter pigs fed high-moisture corn-based liquid diets steeped with phytase. J. Anim. Sci. 88:3964-3976.

Columbus D, Zhu CL, Pluske J. and de Lange CFM (2010) Body weight gain and nutrient utilization in starter pigs that are liquid-fed high-moisture corn-based diets supplemented with phytase. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 90:45-55.

Niven SJ, Zhu C, Columbus D, and de Lange CFM (2007) Impact of controlled fermentation and steeping of high-moisture corn on its nutritional value for pigs. Livestock Science 109(1-3):166-169.

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