Marie-France Palin, Ph.D.

Current research and/or projects

I am studying interactions between genes and nutrients (e.g. polyunsaturated fatty acids, amino acids) in growing pigs with the aim of developing new nutrigenomic tools to improve carcass and meat quality and the mammary gland development.

I am also working on genomics and nutritional strategies to increase pork carnosine content. Carnosine is a naturally occurring dipeptide with recognized health attributes. Increasing muscle carnosine content in pigs would be associated with better meat quality and improved meat attributes.

Research and/or project statements

 Active research projects:

  • Enhancement of carnosine content and its nutritional advantages in pork.

  • New technologies to identify pigs with higher muscle carnosine, a new value-added attribute, and advantages of carnosine-enhanced pork in improving meat quality traits and nutritional value of the meat. 

  • Role of prolactin in the regulation of mammary development in late-gestating sows.

  • New feeding and management strategies for replacement gilts that will maximize future milk yield.

Professional activities / interests

  • Animal genomics and nutrigenomics.
  • Identification of marker genes associated with meat quality and mammary development.
  • Role of adipokines in mammary development and function.
  • In vitro cell and tissue culture models (adipose and muscle cells, liver tissue) to characterize different cellular mechanisms (e.g. lipogenesis, oxidative stress, cell growth and differentiation).

Education and awards


  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Sherbrooke University

  • B.Sc. in Microbiology, Sherbrooke University

  • Received the Young Scientist Award from the Canadian Society of Animal Science.

Key publications

1. Li, Y.Y., Yaylayan, V., Palin, M.F., Sullivan, B., Fortin, F., Cliche, S., Sabik, H. and Gariépy, G. (2021) Protective effects of dietary carnosine during in-vitro digestion of pork differing in fat content and cooking conditions. Journal of Food Biochemistry. 45:e13624. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13624

2. Palin, M.F., Lapointe, J., Gariépy, C., Beaudry, D. and Kalbe, C. (2020) Characterisation of intracellular molecular mechanisms modulated by carnosine in porcine myoblasts under basal and oxidative stress conditions. PLoS One. 15(9): e0239496. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0239496

3. Caron, A., Palin, M.F., Hovey, R.C., Cohen, J., Laforest, J. P. and Farmer, C. (2020) Effects of sustained hyperprolactinemia in late gestation on mammary development of gilts. Domestic Animal Endocrinology. 72:106408. doi: 10.1016/j.domaniend.2019.106408

4. Metzger, K., Tuchscherer, A., Palin, M.F., Ponsuksili, S. and Kalbe, K. (2020) Establishment and validation of cell pools using primary muscle cells derived from satellite cells of pig skeletal muscle. In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal. 56 (3):1193-199. doi: 10.1007/s11626-019-00428-2

5. Duarte, C.R.A., Farmer, C. and Palin, M.F. (2019) Body condition of late pregnant gilts affects the expression of selected adipokines and their receptors in mammary and backfat tissues. Journal of Animal Science 97:220-230. doi: 10.1093/jas/sky391

6. D'Astous-Pagé, J., Gariépy, C., Blouin, R., Cliche, S., Sullivan, B., Fortin, F. and Palin, M.F. (2017) Carnosine content in the porcine longissimus thoracis muscle and its association with meat quality attributes and carnosine-related gene expression. Meat Science 124:84-94. doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2016.11.004.

7. Fortin, É., Blouin, R., Lapointe, J., Petit, H.V. and Palin, M.F. (2017) Linoleic acid, α-linolenic acid and enterolactone affect lipid oxidation and expression of lipid metabolism and antioxidant-related genes in hepatic tissue of dairy cows. British Journal of Nutrition 117:1199-1211. doi:10.1017/S0007114517000976.

8. D'Astous-Pagé, J., Gariépy, C., Blouin, R., Cliche, S., Méthot, S., Sullivan, B., Fortin, F. and Palin, M.F. (2017) Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms in carnosine-related genes and effects of genotypes on pork meat quality attributes. Meat Science 134:54-60. doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2017.07.019.

9. Palin, M.F., Farmer, C. and Duarte, C.R.A. (2017) Adipokines affect mammary growth and function in farm animals. Journal of Animal Science. 95(12):5689-5700. doi:10.2527/jas2017.1777.

10. Farmer, C., Duarte, C.R.A., Vignola, M. and Palin, M.F. (2016) Body condition of gilts at the end of gestation affects their mammary development. Journal of Animal Science 94(5):1897-1905. doi:10.2527/jas.2016-0336.

11. Farmer, C., Comi, M., Duarte, C. R., Vignola, M., Charagu, P. and Palin, M. F. (2016) Differences in body condition of gilts that are maintained from mating to the end of gestation affect mammary development. Journal of Animal Science 94(8):3206–3214. doi:10.2527/jas.2016-0531.

12. Hallé, C., Goff, A.K., Petit, H.V., Blouin, R. and Palin, M.F. (2015) Effects of different n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratios and of enterolactone on gene expression and PG secretion in bovine endometrial cells. British Journal of Nutrition 113(1):56-71. doi:10.1017/S0007114514003304.

13. Farmer, C., Palin, M.F., Lösel, D., Rehfeldt, C. and Kalbe, C. (2015) Impact of diet deprivation and subsequent over-allowance of gestating sows on mammary gland and muscle development of their offspring at puberty. Livestock Science 175:113-120. doi:10.1016/j.livsci.2015.02.006.

14. Lima, L.S., Palin, M.F., Santos, G.T., Benchaar, C. and Petit, H.V. (2015) Effects of supplementation of flax meal and flax oil on mammary gene expression and activity of antioxidant enzymes in mammary tissue, plasma and erythrocytes of dairy cows. Livestock Sciences 176:196-204. doi:10.1016/j.livsci.2015.03.015.

15. Jafarikia, M., Méthot, S., Maignel, L., Fortin, F., Wyss, S., Sullivan, B. and Palin, M.F. (2015) Association of adiponectin and adiponectin receptor genes with sow productivity estimated breeding values. Molecular biology Reports 42(9):1391-1401. doi:10.1007/s11033-015-3917-3.

16. Palin, M.F., Côrtes, C., Benchaar, C., Lacasse, P. and Petit, H.V. (2014) mRNA expression of lipogenic enzymes in mammary tissue and fatty acid profile in milk of dairy cows fed flax hulls and infused with flax oil in the abomasum. British Journal of Nutrition 111(6):1011-1020. doi:10.1017/S0007114513003589.

17. Farmer, C., Palin, M.F. and Martel-Kennes, Y. (2014) Impact of diet deprivation and subsequent over-allowance during gestation on mammary gland development and lactation performance. Journal of Animal Science 92(1):141-151. doi:10.2527/jas.2013-6558.

18. Farmer, C., Lapointe, J. and Palin, M.F. (2014) Effects of the plant extract silymarin on prolactin concentrations, mammary gland development, and oxidative stress in gestating gilts. Journal of Animal Science 92(7):2922-2930. doi:10.2527/jas.2013-7118.

19. Will, K., Kuzinski, J., Palin, M.F., Hildebrandt, J.P. and Rehfeldt C. (2014) A second look at leptin and adiponectin actions on the growth of primary porcine myoblasts under serum-free conditions. Arch Tierz Archiv Tierzucht/Archives Animal Breeding 57, 029:1-10. doi:10.7482/0003-9438-57-029.

20. Palin, M.F., Bordignon, V.V. and Murphy, B.D. (2012) Chapter 10: Adiponectin and the control of female reproductive functions. In: ADIPONECTIN, Academic Press/Elsevier. Gerry Litwack Ed. Vitamines and Hormones. 90:239-287. (Book Chapter). doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-398313-8.00010-5.

21. Brochu-Gaudreau, K., Rehfeldt, C., Blouin, R., Bordignon, V., Murphy, B.D. and Palin, M.F. (2010) Adiponectin action from head to toe. Endocrine 37(1):11-32. doi:10.1007/s12020-009-9278-8.

Research facility

2000 College Street
Sherbrooke, QC J1M 1Z3


  • Adjunct professor at the biology department, Sherbrooke University, Sherbrooke, QC.

  • Member of the Genetic Committee of the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement (CCSI).

  • Member of the Research and Development Genetic Forum, “Centre de Développement du Porc du Québec (CDPQ)”.