Kirk Klasing, Ph.D.

Kirk Klasing

Position Title
Professor Emeritus

2131B Meyer Hall


  • B.S., Agricultural Science, Purdue, W. Lafayette, IN, 1977.
  • M.S., Animal Science, Purdue, W. Lafayette, IN, 1979. 
  • Ph.D., Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell, Ithaca, NY, 1982.

Research Interests

My research encompasses three interrelated areas. First, my students, colleagues and I examine the impact of an immune response against infectious diseases on growth and reproduction. We are interested in identifying the cytokines and hormones that the immune system releases in order to direct nutritional resources towards defense instead of growth and reproduction. We would also like to quantify the nutritional costs of these immune defenses. Second, we are investigating the impact of an animal’s diet on the immune response. Nutrition is clearly an important regulator of immune responses and our research is directed toward understanding the underlying mechanisms. Third, we are exploring the diverse nutritional and immune strategies of carnivorous, nectarivorous, herbivorous and granivorous animals.

Graduate Groups

Courses Taught

  • Comparative Animal Nutrition (Nutrition 123)
  • Comparative Avian Nutrition (Avian Sciences 150)
  • Nutrition and Immunity (Nutrition 251)
  • Current Topics in Nitrogen Metabolism (Nutrition 257)


Current Graduate Students

  • Kevin Bolek, PhD Program, Animal Biology Graduate Group. Expected Graduation Date: Fall 2016.
  • Andrea DeTogatis, MS Program, Avian Science Graduate Group. Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2018.
  • Emily Lumsdaine, MS Program, Avian Science Graduate Group. Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2017.
  • Emily Sapiro, MS Program, Avian Science Graduate Group. Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2017.


  • Serena Eng, Ph.D. Immunology.
  • Vanessa Arias, Ph.D. Animal Biology.
  • Rebecca Duerr, Ph.D. Immunology.
  • Cailin Heinz, M.S. Nutritional Biology.
  • Kimberly Livingston, Ph.D. Vitamin A and development B lymphocytes.
  • Ingrid Edwards, Ph.D. Lipid mobilization by macrophages.
  • Laura Flatow, Ph.D. Regulation of T cells by tryptophan catabolism.
  • Papinya Sirimongkolkasem, Ph.D. Nutritional needs for immunity.
  • Carolyn Lyman, M.S. Iron metabolism in frugivorous birds.
  • Arash Naziripour, M.S. Antibody diversity in birds.
  • Edgar Garcia, Postdoctoral Scholar Nutrition and gene expression.
  • Kelly Lee, Postdoctoral Scholar Integration of immunity into life history theory.

Selected Publications

Selvaraj RK, Shanmugasundaram R, Klasing KC. Effects of dietary lutein and PUFA on PPAR and RXR isomer expression in chickens during an inflammatory response. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology a-Molecular & Integrative Physiology 2010;157:198-203.

Robinson WD, Hau M, Klasing KC, et al. Diversification of Life Histories in Birds. Auk 2010;127:253-262.

Addison B, Ricklefs RE, Klasing KC. Do maternally derived antibodies and early immune experience shape the adult immune response? Functional Ecology 2010;24:824-829.

Klasing KC. Minimizing Amino Acid Catabolism Decreases Amino Acid Requirements. Journal of Nutrition 2009;139:11-12.

Addison B, Klasing KC, Robinson WD, Austin SH, Ricklefs RE. Ecological and life-history factors influencing the evolution of maternal antibody allocation: a phylogenetic comparison. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 2009;276:3979-3987.

Lee KA, Wikelski M, Robinson WD, Robinson TR, Klasing KC. Constitutive immune defences correlate with life-history variables in birds. Journal of Animal Ecology 2008;77:356-363.

Brundige DR, Maga EA, Klasing KC, Murray JD. Lysozyme transgenic goats' milk influences gastrointestinal morphology in young pigs. Journal of Nutrition 2008;138:921-926.

Koutsos EA, Lopez JCG, Klasing KC. Maternal and dietary carotenoids interactively affect cutaneous basophil responses in growing chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B-Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 2007;147:87-92.

Klasing KC. Nutrition and the immune system. British Poultry Science 2007;48:525-537.

Houston AI, McNamara JM, Barta Z, Klasing KC. The effect of energy reserves and food availability on optimal immune defence. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 2007;274:2835-2842.