Research & Development

The scientists on the PEAK Research and Development team are dedicated to developing new technologies, solving difficult problems and sharing what we know with others.

Our Mission

The PEAK Research & Development team is made up of experts on genetics and reproductive biology who are dedicated to the development of new tools and refinement of existing technologies in support of our partners and clients. While our principal focus is on the development of innovative products, programs, and services, we also provide operational and technical support to PEAK and URUS partners. Our values center around scientific thinking, prudent use of resources, willingness to learn, collaboration with scientific leaders, and a relentless focus on the cow.

Meet the TEAM

Dr. Tatiane Chud

Research Geneticist

Dr. John Cole

PEAK Sr. VP, Research & Development

Dr. Vianney Salmon

Research Andrologist

Dr. Gayathri Rajamanickam

Research Andrologist

Ashley Mikush

Research Geneticist

Research Geneticist

PEAK Sr. VP, Research & Development

Work with the best in the industry

Find out more how you can get in touch with the R&D team.

Dr. Tatiane Chud

Research Geneticist

I am driven by the challenge of solving complex problems and inspired by the potential to improve animal production. The collaborative and supportive work environment at PEAK fosters personal and professional growth, which fuels my passion for continuous learning and development in the field of animal breeding and genetics.

What is your background?

Born and raised on a beef farm in Brazil, my background in animal breeding and genetics was inspired by my early life experiences. I pursued a career in this field, gaining expertise in genetic and genomic analyses, and eventually completed a postdoctoral at the University of Guelph in Canada. During my fellowship, I managed a global database of feed efficiency and methane emission data, while also developing new methodologies to integrate novel traits into the Canadian dairy genetic evaluation system. After my fellowship, I worked as a geneticist at Fast Genetics, a swine breeding company, where I was responsible for developing and implementing methods to improve and maintain genetic progress in swine populations. My diverse experiences and strong educational foundation have equipped me with a deep understanding of sustainable animal production and the practical applications of animal breeding and genetics.

What are your personal responsibilities in your position?

In my position at PEAK, my main responsibilities include conducting genetic and genomic analyses, developing new methodologies, providing technical support and collaborating with PEAK Genetics and PEAK Production teams, developing tools for the PEAK Female Program, staying updated with academia and industry advancements, and training personnel.

Why did you choose PEAK?

The collaborative work environment, supportive management, and opportunities for personal and professional growth align well with my values and career goals. I believe that working at PEAK will allow me to make a positive impact on dairy production while continuing to develop my expertise alongside a talented team of professionals.

What motivates you to come to work each day?

I am driven by the challenge of solving complex problems and inspired by the potential to improve animal production. The collaborative and supportive work environment at PEAK fosters personal and professional growth, which fuels my passion for continuous learning and development in the field of animal breeding and genetics.

What is the most important thing to know about the PEAK R&D team and your role?

The most important thing to know about the PEAK R&D team and my role is that our collaboration between andrologists and geneticists plays a crucial part in developing innovative solutions that support the industry, and the environment, and drive genetic improvement in PEAK animals. Our joint efforts are focused on creating a more sustainable future in animal production, benefiting customers, consumers, and the planet. By enhancing the genetic potential of our animals, we aim to make a significant impact on the dairy and beef population, ensuring healthier and more productive livestock for future generations.

What are you most excited about in regard to the PEAK R&D team?

I am particularly excited about future projects within the PEAK R&D team that involve incorporating genomic information and developing tools to breed more sustainable and resilient animals, such as those that emit less enteric methane and are more efficient. Additionally, I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate in driving genetic improvement in PEAK animals.

What big question or challenge do you wish to solve in your career?

In my career, I aim to address the significant challenge of producing healthier and more sustainable animals through genetic improvement. Additionally, I am passionate about understanding the effects of structural variants on animal health, welfare, and productivity, while gaining a deeper understanding of their biological functions. By leveraging advanced genetic and genomic analyses, I aim to develop more targeted and effective breeding strategies, leading to the development of more resilient and sustainable livestock populations.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy staying active through kickboxing, I’m a food enthusiast and love exploring new restaurants, enriching my mind with reading, and cherishing quality time spent with my family and friends. These activities help me maintain a balanced and fulfilling life.

If you could have one item in your fridge at all times, what would it be and why?

A combination of cheese and fruits. They make a perfect pairing, a versatile snack or light meal, suitable for any time of the day.

Dr. John Cole

PEAK Sr. VP, Research & Development

“I’ve got a fantastic team working with me at PEAK, and we’ve got an opportunity to go out and bring another great scientist into the team. We’re also given the responsibility of solving hard problems that have a real impact on PEAK’s success. There aren’t many scientists who have the chance to get out of bed each morning and make a real difference.”

What is your background?

I’m from south Louisiana, and I grew up in Lafayette and New Orleans. I left home at 16 to attend the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. After graduating, I attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where I majored in animal production and minored in microbiology. After several years in graduate school, I received Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in animal breeding and genetics. In 2003, I accepted a position as a Research Geneticist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, where I studied dairy cattle genetics and genomics. My work there included the development of the US national evaluations for stillbirth, assisting with the transition to genomics, and research on genetic diseases. After 17 years with USDA as a scientist and laboratory manager I decided to make a change and came to PEAK in 2021 to lead the R&D program.

What are your personal responsibilities in your position?

My role is to make sure that the scientists on the R&D team have the tools they need to do their job. I also work with PEAK Beef, PEAK Genetics, and PEAK Production teams and PEAK partners to ensure that we at R&D understand your challenges and know what problems you need help solving.

Why did you choose PEAK?

I felt it was time to make a career change, and when the chance to lead the R&D team for a great company came up I jumped at the opportunity.

What motivates you to come to work each day?

I’ve got a fantastic team working with me at PEAK, and we’ve got an opportunity to go out and bring another great scientist into the team. We’re also given the responsibility of solving hard problems that have a real impact on PEAK’s success. There aren’t many scientists who have the chance to get out of bed each morning and make a real difference.

What is the most important thing to know about the PEAK R&D team and your role?

We’re here to help, whether that’s new product development, troubleshooting existing services, or engaging in outreach and education.

What are you most excited about in regard to the PEAK R&D team?

I believe that the PEAK R&D team can help PEAK Genetics to make better bulls and PEAK Production to deliver high-quality, innovative genetics efficiently. If we do our job well it will make everyone else’s job easier.

What big question or challenge do you wish to solve in your career?

I want people to walk onto the best farm in their county, look down the alley, and say, “Those are PEAK cows!”

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Outside of work I like to listen to and play music, and I’m an LSU baseball fan.

If you could have one item in your fridge at all times, what would it be and why?

Andouille, because you can’t get good sausage in Wisconsin.

Dr. Vianney Salmon

Research Andrologist

What the PEAK R&D team delivers has a direct impact on PEAK productivity and efficiency. This year our focus is on delivering results and I am excited to see the outcome of our current projects.

What is your background?

I was born in Benin, a small country in West Africa, where I grew up. I hold a Ph.D. in Animal Sciences from Laval University in Quebec, a Master’s degree in Animal Reproduction from the University of Tours in France, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Creteil also in France.

What are your personal responsibilities in your position?

I oversee the andrology team and lead research projects related to the improvement of semen cryopreservation.

Why did you choose PEAK?

I choose PEAK to make a substantial impact to the bovine industry. Being part of the largest AI company in the world gives me this opportunity.

What motivates you to come to work each day?

I am motivated to come to work each day because I know that there will always be a new challenge to be addressed each day.

What is the most important thing to know about the PEAK R&D team and your role?

We seek for innovation and processes optimization to contribute to the success of our customers.

What are you most excited about in regard to the PEAK R&D team?

What the PEAK R&D team delivers has a direct impact on PEAK productivity and efficiency. This year our focus is on delivering results and I am excited to see the outcome of our current projects.

What big question or challenge do you wish to solve in your career?

We just need one good sperm for fertilization. The big challenge is how many functional sperm do we actually need in a straw (1 or 1,000,000).

What do you enjoy outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, fishing and breeding guppy fish.

If you could have one item in your fridge at all times, what would it be and why?

I would always have MILK in my fridge because I start my day with a full glass of milk every morning. Milk also contains water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. I can’t think of anything else comparable.

Dr. Gayathri (Gaya) Rajamanickam

Research Andrologist

“As a researcher, I am motivated by creative research projects, teamwork, and success. The R&D team is a huge motivation to come to work every day as we consistently try to challenge the way things are done. We always end up brainstorming on how to do things better, and coming up with innovative solutions and it always leads to productive discussions. Success at a personal and organizational level is yet another factor that drives me to do a good job every day”

What is your background?

Canada has been my second home for more than a decade now. I grew up and finished my Veterinary Sciences degree in India and moved to Canada to complete my Ph.D. in Reproductive Biology at the University of Calgary.

What are your personal responsibilities in your position?

In my current role, my responsibilities include working on dedicated research projects and sharing the knowledge gained from such projects with PEAK leadership and stakeholders. I also serve as a technical expert for staff in the production and quality control laboratories in Canada and provide technical support for PEAK and PEAK partners.

Why did you choose PEAK?

PEAK is a leader in the industry and I can see myself growing professionally in this position. I believe I can apply all the skills that I have acquired so far to this particular role and can’t really think of a better position than this one to grow along with the organization.

What motivates you to come to work each day?

As a researcher, I am motivated by creative research projects, teamwork, and success. The R&D team is a huge motivation to come to work every day as we consistently try to challenge the way things are done. We always end up brainstorming on how to do things better, and coming up with innovative solutions and it always leads to productive discussions. Success at a personal and organizational level is yet another factor that drives me to do a good job every day.

What is the most important thing to know about the PEAK R&D team and your role?

PEAK R&D is growing to be the point of contact for all the research and development activities in URUS. As an R&D team member, my goal is to support URUS’s long-term mission to build long-term relationships with beef and dairy producers by developing innovative products and services.

What are you most excited about in regard to the PEAK R&D team?

I am most excited about all the research projects that we have put in place for this year and really looking forward to the end results and implementation. I am also equally excited about collaborating and working towards something big— a common goal of providing superior genetics and high fertility semen.

What big question or challenge do you wish to solve in your career?

At some point, I would like to come up with a bull-side fertility predictor kit or a 3D-printed semen sorter device.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Hanging out with my boys is my favorite pastime and exploring the endless opportunities and picturesque landscape that Alberta/Canada has to offer.

If you could have one item in your fridge at all times, what would it be and why?

Cheese is our family favorite. My boys love it.

Ashley Mikush

Research Geneticist

At PEAK I’m able to use my skills and talents to ultimately provide producers with higher-quality bulls in terms of fertility and genetics.

What is your background?

I grew up on a 60-cow dairy farm near La Crosse, WI. I have a Bachelor’s degree in dairy science from UW-River Falls and a master’s in dairy genetics from UW-Madison. I worked as a lab technician and a bull herdsman for several years as well.

What are your personal responsibilities in your position?

My main responsibility is our internal bull fertility evaluations – Concept Plus and PregCheck. I run the evaluations every two months, distribute results and summaries, and work on new ways to continue to improve and enhance the process. I also perform additional fertility and genetics-related analyses to help us better able to make data-driven decisions, as well as various other tasks.

Why did you choose PEAK?

At PEAK I’m able to use my skills and talents to ultimately provide producers with higher quality bulls in terms of fertility and genetics.

What motivates you to come to work each day?

I am motivated to come to work each day because I’m able to do what I enjoy, and I know my work and recommendations are valued.

What is the most important thing to know about the PEAK R&D team and your role?

Our team is continually working to make improvements to help better serve you.

What are you most excited about in regard to the PEAK R&D team?

I think we have some very interesting projects in the works that I’m excited to see come to completion.

What big question or challenge do you wish to solve in your career?

I’d like to help decrease the carbon footprint of dairy cattle.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with my husband, biking, hiking, fishing, and yoga.

If you could have one item in your fridge at all times, what would it be and why?

Yogurt!