Dr. Henry (Hank) Classen grew up on a mixed farm in north-eastern Saskatchewan where he developed an interest in agriculture, and more specifically, poultry. After high school he moved to Saskatoon and completed a B.S.A. at the University of Saskatchewan in 1971. He then continued his training at the University of Massachusetts in Amberst where he received M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in 1971 and 1974, respectively. In 1976, prior to defending his Ph.D. thesis, he was hired as an Assistant Professor at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park. After a brief stay, Dr. Classen joined the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan as an Assistant Professor. Since that time, he rose to the rank of Full Professor and served in a variety of roles including Head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Science. In 2013, Dr. Classen was named Distinguished Professor by the University of Saskatchewan and was also awarded a five year NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Poultry Nutrition.
Dr. Classen's research interests are in the areas of poultry nutrition and management. His bird management research focused on welfare issues included the impact of lighting programs for broiler chickens, beak trimming of laying hens, toe trimming of turkeys, nutritional manipulation of laying hen and broiler breeder behaviour, and broiler transportation. His poultry nutrition research concentrated on nutritional value, anti-nutritional factors and processing of feed ingredients, and feeding programs. The IRC research progam will focus on the impact of rate and extent of starch and protein digestion of feed ingredients on the health and performance of poutlry species.