Associate Professor

Dr. McKay was born and raised in Texas where she attended Texas A&M University and received her undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Genetics.  While working as a full time lab technician in a bovine genomics laboratory, Dr. McKay worked on her M.S. in Veterinary Microbiology. After receiving her Master's, Dr. McKay ventured to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she received her Ph.D. in Animal Science in 2007. Dr. McKay's degrees do not necessarily reflect her research  focus. Dr. McKay has had varied research experience including generating transgenic mice, working in Biohazardous disease related laboratories and predominantly working with the bovine genome. Her work with the bovine genome started as an undergraduate student and has evolved with time as work with the bovine genome has grown. Currently the McKay lab performs genetic, genome and epigenomic work with beef cattle, Our primary interest is identifying what proportion of genetic variation associated with complex traits is influenced by environmental factors that lead to epigenetic modifications.


Awards and Recognition

  • Douglas D. Randall Young Scientist travel award for travel to Plant & Animal Genome XX Conference, San Diego, California. Awarded February 2012
  • International Society for Animal Genetics award for having the second most cited manuscript published in Animal Genetics in the year 2007. Awarded July 2010.
  • Accepted into FIRST IV: Faculty Institutes for Reforming Science Teaching NSF CCLI - Phase III (DUE 618501), 2009-2012. Diane Ebert-May (PI), Terry Derting (co-PI). Professional development program for teaching and learning in undergraduate biology; participants are postdoctoral scholars in the biological sciences and a selected team of biology faculty who lead the professional development workshops. Postdocs leave the program having designed a completed introductory biology course based on the principles of scientific teaching. Awarded April 2009.
  • Department of AFNS Travel Award, University of Alberta, July 2006
  • Mary Louise Imrie Graduate Student Award, University of Alberta, July 2006
  • Neal A. Jorgensen Genome Travel Award, Plant, Animal & Microbe Genomes XIV Conference, San Diego, California, January 2006
  • Travel bursary to attend the 29th Conference of the International Society for Animal Genetics, Tokyo, Japan, September 2004
  • Graduate Studies and Research Tuition Scholarship, University of Alberta, September 2003

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Genetics and Genomics


  • Ph.D., University of Alberta, Canada
  • M.S., Texas A & M University
  • B.S., Texas A & M University


  • 802-656-2075
Office Location:

304 Terrill Building

Office Hours:

Upon Request

  1. The McKay Lab

Courses Taught

ASCI 168 Animal Genetics and Breeding