Image of Sarah Dickenson 

Dr. Sarah Moorey
Assistant Professor



ANSC 624 - Advanced Mammalian Reproduction        


2506 River Drive
Brehm Animal Science Building
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
Phone: (865) 974-7286
Fax: (865) 974-7297




Ph.D., Animal Science (Reproductive Physiology and Genomics), Auburn University, 2019

M.S., Animal Science (Reproductive Physiology), University of Missouri, 2016

B.S., Animal Science, Auburn University, 2014

Appointment:  80% Research | 20% Teaching

Professional Interest: Reproductive Physiology and Genomics

Reproductive inefficiency is the leading cause of economic loss in beef cattle production systems. Such losses occur when cows fail to become pregnant during the breeding season or become pregnant but do not maintain pregnancy to calving. Additionally, even when animals establish and maintain pregnancy, cows calving after the first 21 days of the calving season are less productive than their early calving counterparts.

Therefore, Dr. Moorey’s overarching research goal is to improve fertility of beef cattle to a single insemination or natural service and thereby increase the percentage of early calving cows in the beef herd. Optimal reproductive success is a combination of genetics and management; thus Dr. Moorey’s program investigates both genetic components of fertility and the complex physiology through which pregnancy is successfully achieved. Collage of images of Sarah Dickenson

Dr. Moorey’s specific interests include:

  1. Follicular contributions to pregnancy success
    • We study the impact of follicular maturity or health on both (i) the maternal environment and (ii) oocyte competence and the resulting conceptus. Additionally, we study altered communication networks between the developing conceptus and endometrium when animals ovulate a suboptimal follicle.
  2. Genetic components of fertility
    • We investigate differences in genotypes, transcript profiles, and resulting protein abundances in animals of varied fertility that allow us to (i) better understand female infertility and (ii) develop potential biomarkers of fertility in cattle.
  3. Impacts of maternal nutrition on pregnancy outcome
    • We investigate impacts of differing maternal nutrition, such as the grazing of toxic endophyte infested fescue, on gamete quality and successful pregnancy establishment.

Our lab leverages molecular techniques, -omics technologies, and bioinformatics to contribute advancements of knowledge in the above areas with the end goal of improving reproductive efficiency in beef cattle. Dr. Moorey’s lab works heavily in both the basic and applied aspects of research related to reproduction. Students will have opportunities to advance their skills in both areas and will tailor their program to advance their specific goals.

Dr. Moorey is excited to work with dedicated students who wish to advance their education and future career opportunities through research in reproductive physiology and genomics. Please reach out if you are interested in joining our team.  

Selected Publications

  • Dickinson, S.E., M.F. Elmore, L.A. Kriese-Anderson, J.B. Elmore, B.N. Walker, P.W. Dyce, S.P. Rodning, and F.H. Biase. 2019. Evaluation of age, weaning weight, body condition score, and reproductive tract score in pre-selected beef heifers relative to reproductive potential. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology. doi:10.1186/s40104-019-0329-6    

  • Dickinson, S. E., and F. H. Biase. 2018. Transcriptome data of peripheral white blood cells from beef heifers collected at the time of artificial insemination. Data Brief 18:706-709. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2018.03.062 

  • Kimble, K. M., S. E. Dickinson, and F. H. Biase. 2018. Extraction of total RNA from single-oocytes and single-cell mRNA sequencing of swine oocytes. BMC Res Notes 11(1):155-159. doi: 10.1186/s13104-018-3264-2

  • Dickinson, S. E., B. A. Griffin, M. F. Elmore, L. Kriese-Anderson, J. B. Elmore, P. W. Dyce, S. P. Rodning, and F. H. Biase. 2018. Transcriptome profiles in peripheral white blood cells at the time of artificial insemination discriminate beef heifers with different fertility potential. BMC Genomics 19(1):129-139. doi: 10.1186/s12864-018-4505-4 

  • Dickinson, S.E., T.W. Geary, J.M. Monnig, K.G. Pohler, J.A. Green, and M.F. Smith. 2016. Effect of preovulatory follicle maturity on pregnancy establishment in cattle: the role of oocyte competence and the maternal environment. Animal Reproduction. 13:3 209-216. doi: 10.21451/1984-3143-AR879

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