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Dr. Lannett Edwards 

Dr. Lannett Edwards Professor and Graduate Director 




Postdoctoral Fellow, USDA, Gene Evaluation and Mapping Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD, 1996-1998 

Ph.D., Animal Science (Animal Molecular and Cell Biology), University of Florida, 1996

MS, Dairy Science, Mississippi State University, 1992

BS, Agriculture, Austin Peay State University, 1989  

Appointment:  60% Research | 40% Teaching  

Professional Interest: Reproductive Physiology and Embryology  

Photo collage with Dr. Lannett Edwards 

Increased selection for traits of economic importance in farm animals (i.e., milk production) has been coincident with significant reductions in cow fertility. Infertility is not without consequence as the efficiency and economic livelihood of animal production systems are compromised. For example, costs incurred by the dairy producer may reach $4.00/day/cow for every day a cow is not pregnant beyond 90 days after giving birth (Britt, 1975). Despite the widely accepted magnitude of this problem, little progress has been made to understand the specific components contributing to infertility in farm animal species. Until this information is known, the significant detrimental effects of infertility in agriculturally important animals will not be ameliorated in an economic, practical way. To this end, Dr. Edwards is pursuing research aimed at 1) elucidating mechanisms through which environmental heat stress reduces dairy cow fertility by altering ovum quality, 2) identifying genes of economic interest to the dairy industry (i.e., those important in oocyte and embryo development), and 3) develop alternative strategies to alter sex ratio of farm animals that minimizes sperm damage while maintaining fertility. Efforts to improve fertility of farm animals is of agricultural significance as progress would go towards reducing animal costs thereby providing cost benefits to the consumer, and could ultimately lead to increased productivity of fewer animals. Production of fewer animals but more of the most valuable sex would go towards conserving natural resources and enhancing the environment. It is also expected that information gained from these studies will be applied towards preventing reproduction problems or failure, in other agriculturally important species, as well as in humans.    

Selected Publications 

  • Campen, K.A. C. R. Abbott, L.A. Rispoli, R.R. Payton, A.M. Saxton and J. L. Edwards. 2018. Heat stress impairs gap junction communication and cumulus function of bovine oocytes. In press. https://doi.org/10.1262/jrd.2018-029.  
  • Payton, R.R., L.A. Rispoli, K.A. Nagle, C. Gondro, A.M. Saxton, B.H. Voy and J.L. Edwards. 2018. Mitochondrial-related consequences of heat stress exposure during bovine oocyte maturation persist in early embryo development. Journal of Reproduction and Development. 64(3): 243-251. 

  • Reese, S.T. M.C. Pereira, J.L. Edwards, J.L. Vasconcelos and K.G. Pohler. 2018. Pregnancy diagnosis in cattle using pregnancy associated glycoprotein concentration in circulation at day 24 of gestation. Theriogenology 106: 178-185  doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2017.10.020. 

  • Young, C., F.N. Schrick, K. Pohler, A.M. Saxton, F. DiCroce, D. Roper, J. Wilkerson and J.L. Edwards. 2017. Short communication: A reproductive tract scoring system to manage fertility in dairy cows.  Journal of Dairy Science 100:5922-5927. 

  • Goodwin M.R., L.A. Rispoli, R.R. Payton, A.M. Saxton and J.L. Edwards. 2016. Developmental consequences of supplementing with matrix metallopeptidase-9 during in vitro maturation of heat-stressed bovine oocytes. Journal of Reproduction and Development 62(6): 553-560. 

  • Hooper, L.M.*, R. R. Payton, L. A. Rispoli, A. M. Saxton, and J. L. Edwards.  2015.  Impact of Heat Stress on Germinal Vesicle Breakdown and Lipolytic Changes during In Vitro Maturation of Bovine Oocytes.  Journal of Reproduction and Development, 61(5):459-64. 

  • Giordano, J. O., J. L. Edwards, F. Di Croce, D. A. Roper, N. R. Rohrbach, A. M. Saxton, T. M. Prado, and F. N. Schrick.  2013.  Ovulatory follicle dysfunction in lactating dairy cows after giving Folltropin-V at the onset of luteolysis.  Theriogenology, 79(8):1210-1217. 

  • Heat Stress effects on the cumulus cells surrounding the bovine oocyte during maturation: altered matrix metallopeptidase 9 and progesterone production.  Reproduction, 146(2):193-207.



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