Endocrinology - Reproductive Physiology Emphasis

The endocrinology-reproductive physiology area ranges from hormonal studies with livestock, primates, and laboratory animals to biochemical studies at the cellular level. These studies include mechanism of gene action, physiological genetics, in vitro maturation, fertilization, embryo development, cloning and gene transfer, neuro-endocrinology, and the environmental and genetic control of puberty and postpartum anestrus. Courses are available through the departments of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Medical School, School of Pharmacy and Veterinary School.(ERP Program)

Application to the Graduate School

Admission Requirements
As you apply to UW-Madison, you need to be aware of two different sets of requirements; Graduate School minimum admission requirements, and department admission requirements.
Graduate School Requirements
The Graduate School sets the minimum admission requirements for all prospective graduate students. The minimum admission requirements are:

• A bachelor’s degree from an approved (accredited) institution.
• A minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work).
• Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB).
• An admitted applicant whose TOEFL (paper-based) test score is below 580; TOEFL computer-based test (CBT) score below 237; or MELAB below 82 must take an English assessment test upon arrival. You must then register for any recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) course(s) in the first semester you are in enrolled.
• International applicants must have a degree comparable to an approved U.S. bachelor’s degree and provide evidence of adequate financial resources for the anticipated duration of their program.

Department Requirements
Departmental admission requirements are in addition to the minimum requirements set by the Graduate School. The Department of Animal Sciences bases its admission on demonstrated scholastic ability, recent GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores, letters of recommendation, and the personal statement or reasons for graduate study. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact faculty members they are interested in working with during the admissions process.

MS Animal Sciences with an Emphasis in Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology

Prerequisites for Admission
• Physics
• Calculus
• Organic Chemistry
• Genetics
• Physiology

Curriculum Requirements
A master's degree requires a minimum of 30 graduate - level credits (300 level or above, no audits or pass/fail) taken as a graduate student at UW-Madison. A typical M.S. degree in this area can be completed in 2 1/2 years with full - time enrollment.
I. Core Course Requirements which require a minimum grade of a “B” or better.
Select one course from each section A, B and C.

A. Statistics 571 - Statistical Methods for Bioscience I. (4 Cr.)
B. Animal Science 875 - Endocrine Physiology (3 cr.) or Biochemistry 630- Cellular Signal Transduction Mechanisms. (3 Cr.)
C. Biomolecular Chemistry 503 - Human Biochemistry (3cr.) or Biomolecular Chemistry 704 - Comprehensive Human Biochemistry (6 Cr.) or Biochemistry 507 & 508 - General Biochemistry (6 Cr.)

PhD in Animal Sciences with an Emphasis on Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology

1. Candidates must complete 51 credits of graduate course work and maintain an average grade of B or better.

2. Course program – Major
The degree program is determined by the student and by the student's advisor, with the approval of the mentoring committee. The mentoring committee consists of the student's advisor and a minimum of four other faculty members. This committee should be selected by the student and by the advisor by the end of the student's first semester of study towards the Ph.D. degree.

3. Course program – Minor
The purpose of the minor is to give breadth to a PhD. major. Cross-listed courses are permitted if distinct from the major area of study as judged by the major department. There are two kinds of minors: Option A and Option B.

The Option A minor requires:
A minimum of 9 credits in a single department/major field of study. Refer to the individual department for specific requirements; many departments require more than 9 credits.

  • Approval from the minor department.
    The Option B (Distributed) minor requires:
    - A minimum of 9 credits in one or more departments and can include course work in the major department.
  • - Approval from the major department.

  • 4. Teaching

Each candidate must serve as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for at least one semester-long course during their Ph.D. graduate program.

5. Preliminary Examination
The preliminary examination consists of an oral examination with questions pertaining to the candidate's graduate course program and area of study. Additionally, the candidate will defend his or her research proposal, which will have been submitted no less than 10 days prior to the preliminary exam date. The mentoring committee administers the preliminary examination.

6. Thesis and Final Examination
The original research conducted by the candidate must be summarized in a thesis. A Final Examination will be given after the completion of the thesis. The thesis must be submitted to the examining committee two weeks before the examination. The candidate is required to present an exit seminar on their dissertation research and to subsequently defend the thesis orally. The thesis must be acceptable from both scientific and literary standpoints. The mentoring committee administers the thesis defense, though both the seminar and defense are open to the public.



Hasan Khatib Professor
Infertility has become a challenge in many mammalian species. In humans, about 15% of couples fail to conceive within the course of a year of unprotected sex. Within the United States, 11.0 % of women ages 15-44 have impaired fecundity and about 6% are infertile. Assisted reproductive technologies have become well developed and utilized to overcome some of the challenges of infertility. However, assessment of embryo quality and potential of in vivo and in-vitro produced embryos is largely based on morphology which is often not indicative of the embryo's ability to establish a pregnancy. Thus, the objectives of my research are to identify and characterize genes and epigenetic markers as predictors of embryo development using non-invasive methods. We are investigating the roles of imprinted genes and epigenetic modifications in early embryonic development. Another focus of my research is the study of the effects of maternal nutrition on the transcriptome and epigenome of the offspring. Methods used in our lab include genome-wide association studies, RNA-Seq, DNA methylation, CRISPR, microRNAs, and RNAi.
Programs: Animal Sciences, ERP

John Parrish Professor
The goals of the Parrish lab are to understand why males differ in fertility and how climate impacts spermatogenesis and male fertility. The experimental models used include the bovine, porcine and equine. Several approaches are being used to determine why males differ in fertility. One approach is to examine the mechanisms of sperm capacitation focusing on the regulation of intracellular calcium, pH and cAMP within sperm. Another approach has been to examine how bovine sperm interact with oviduct cells in vitro to induce capacitation and maintain sperm viable for extended lengths of time. The third approach is to examine how sperm nuclear shape is related to fertility. In this approach novel methods have been developed to quantify sperm nuclear shape with Fourier Harmonic Analysis. The last approach is to examine how scrotal insulation affects spermatogenesis, sperm nuclear shape, fertility of sperm, and genomic control of this process. This approach simulates effects of heat stress on the male and can be used to test drugs or procedures that potentially impact response of males to heat stress.
Programs: Animal Sciences, ERP