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UF Bovine Embryo Laboratory (PJ Hansen)

UF Bovine Embryo Laboratory (PJ Hansen)


The overall research goal of our group is to understand determinants of pregnancy success in ruminants. Much of the current effort is devoted to understanding how maternally-derived molecules including embryokines and specific nutrients regulate programming of the preimplantation embryo. Among the molecules studied are the methyl donor choline, WNT ligand WNT5A, and the WNT antagonist dickkopf-1. Another area of focus is identification of genes controlling fertility including those that affect development of the preimplantation embryo.

Research is also conducted to elucidate the cellular and molecular processes by which cellular stress disrupts embryonic function and the intercellular defense systems that embryos use to limit these effects. Additional studies are being conducted to elucidate the genetic basis for breed and individual differences in regulation in body temperature and cellular resistance to elevated temperature.

Applied studies have used the knowledge gained from studies of embryo physiology to develop new management strategies for increasing dairy cattle fertility. Most of the recent effort in this area has been directed towards improving efficiency of embryo transfer schemes with the goal of improving the utility of this procedure for reducing infertility caused by heat stress and other causes.