Dr. Doug McFarland: Distinguished Graduate in Science, Education, & Technology 2013

Dr. Douglas Craig McFarland received his M.S. (Chemistry) and Ph.D. (Nutrition) at Washington State University (WSU) in 1975 and 1984, respectively. From 1972 to 1986, Douglas entrenched himself in learning a wide assortment of methods, including basic chemistry techniques, protein biochemistry, whole animal procedures, and a variety of in vitro techniques using both tissue slices and emerging cell cultures in a variety of applications. In 1986, Dr. McFarland accepted a faculty position at South Dakota State University, whereby he became an expert on avian skeletal muscle development and growth, during a time when cell biology models were just emerging in animal agriculture.

Indeed, Douglas was instrumental in writing many “firsts” with respect to seminal papers on isolation methods for myogenic stem cells derived from avian skeletal muscle; growth factor regulation of stem cell replication, proliferation and differentiation; and influence of intrinsic and extrinsic regulators on cellular receptor populations, cellular signaling and intracellular signaling systems. This expansive output, immediately shared with a growing field of researchers, resulted in well-over a million dollars of research funding, over 100 highly cited refereed journal articles published in high impact journals [>1500 citations; h – index = 22], and 18 invited presentations at both the National and International levels. Due to his pioneering work, in 2007, South Dakota State University appointed Douglas as a “Distinguished Professor of Animal and Range Sciences.”

Dr. McFarland possesses the ability to “see through problems.” This has made him the “go to” person for many things. For example, in 2008 Douglas was asked to be the Interim Department Head of Animal and Range Sciences. What was supposed to be a short appointment, due to his effectiveness, became over a year of service. Not wanting to release him of these types of duties, in 2011, Dr. McFarland became Assistant Department Head, while maintaining his research and teaching duties.

Douglas and his wife Sandy have two sons [Nathan and Ian]. Both Douglas and Sandy are active volunteers in their community [both have been active in the Scouting program for many years; presently, Douglas is a Unit Commissioner (helping two different Cub Scout Packs and one Boy Scout Troop and serves as their liaison to the District leadership)]. Also, Dr. McFarland learned to play the bagpipes and has performed for weddings, funerals, memorial ceremonies, parades, and other special programs. Douglas has also been very active with the Masonic fraternity at the local, state and regional level (this involves substantial travel) and he was elected to the “line” of state leadership and will be the presiding officer for South Dakota in June 2014. Douglas is a very humble person, solid scientist and is proud to serve his community. For these reasons, Dr. Douglas Craig McFarland is the 2013, WSU, Department of Animal Sciences, Distinguished Graduate–Science, Education & Technology.