Behnam Abasht

Department of Animal and Food Sciences

Behnam Abasht

Professor of Animal Genetics

Office location:

531 S. College Avenue
035 Townsend Hall
Newark, DE 19716


Abasht joined the department in 2011. He received his Ph.D. from Agrocampus Ouest, Rennes, France, in 2006, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in quantitative genetics at Iowa State University. He was a research geneticist and genomics project leader at Perdue Farms prior to his appointment at the University of Delaware. Dr. Abasht’s current research is broadly concerned with degenerative muscle diseases in chickens. His lab also develops bioinformatics tools to facilitate genome-wide investigation of regulatory mutations, epigenetic modifications and genomic imprinting.

Resources and links


  • Postdoctoral Research, Iowa State University: 2006-2008
  • PhD., Agrocampus Ouest / French National Institute for Agricultural Research, Rennes, France: 2006
  • MSc., University of Tehran, Iran: 1998
  • BSc., Urmia University, Iran: 1995

Current courses

  • ANFS300 – Principles of Animal and Plant Genetics
  • ANFS470 – Principles of Molecular Genetics
  • ANFS670 – Principles of Molecular Genetics

Research interests

Research in Dr. Abasht’s lab has focused on studying Wooden Breast, a novel muscle disorder of unknown etiology in commercial broiler chickens. The most severe cases of the disease are characterized by extreme stiffness of the breast muscle (pectoralis major), which can be detected by manual palpation. Using a combination of methods, including transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq), histology, electron microscopy, and bioinformatics, Dr. Abasht’s lab investigates and hopes to identify factors causing this myopathy in modern broiler chickens. The lab group also studies genetic regulation of myogenesis and adiposity as they relate to healthy muscle growth in chickens.