Designated Emphasis in Reproductive Biology

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Photo: Confocal real-time imaging of rhesus monkey acrosome reaction. Left panel: Fluorescence; Right panel: bright field and fluorescence.

Confocal real-time imaging of rhesus monkey acrosome reaction. Left panel: Fluorescence; Right panel: bright field and fluorescence.

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Graduate students in certain Ph.D. programs may participate in a Designated Emphasis, a specialization that might include a new method of inquiry or an important field of application which is related to two or more existing Ph.D. programs. Currently, there are seven major Graduate Groups at UC Davis. The curriculum of the designated emphasis is offered by faculty organized in the manner of a graduate group.  In view of both the breadth of interests and substantial numbers of faculty interested in the education of graduate students in reproductive biology, UC Davis has an established Designated Emphasis in Reproductive Biology (DERB) that serves faculty from seven major graduate groups: Molecular, Cellular, & Integrative Physiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, Comparative Pathology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Epidemiology, Integrative Genetics and Genomics, and Animal Biology. The Designated Emphasis is awarded in conjunction with the Ph.D. degree and is signified by a transcript designation; for example, "Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology with a Designated Emphasis in Reproductive Biology."

The University of California, Davis has a long and rich history in reproductive biology research. From the 1930’s to the 60’s, early pioneers at UC Davis included Harold H. Cole, Perry T. Cupps, and Irving I. Geshwind, Department of Animal Science, and Frank X. Ogasawara, Department of Avian Sciences. Their scientific discoveries (such as the gonadotropic hormone from pregnant mares, methods to freeze sperm and for artificial insemination), assistance to the dairy cattle and poultry industries, and scholarly activities (editors of scientific journals, authors of text books in reproduction) provided the foundation for the teaching of reproductive biology at UC Davis, and the addition of faculty with research interests in this field. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, prominent researchers Gary B. Anderson, Department of Animal Science, James W. Overstreet, School of Medicine, and Jerry L. Hedrick, Biological Sciences, pioneered an understanding of pregnancy and gamete interaction that led to the advances of genetic manipulation of farm animals, in vitro fertilization, and sperm-egg recognition biochemistry.

Today, research in reproductive biology at UC Davis is conducted by more than 35 principal investigators located in the Colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Letters and Sciences, College of Biological Science, Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, and Organized Research Units such as the Bodega Marine Laboratory, the Center for Health and the Environment, and the California National Primate Center. Research ranges from molecular to organismal, and from basic research to applied studies in agricultural and health related sciences, cell and molecular biology, stem cell biology, developmental biology, reproductive physiology, and epidemiology. A significant number of UC Davis reproductive biologists conduct research programs that are recognized nationally and internationally and encompass species diversity including rodents, sheep, goats, cattle, horses, nonhuman primates, birds, and fish. The area of reproductive biology is one of the major strengths in the biological sciences at UC Davis. The astonishing breadth and depth of the campus’s research programs in this field have created a dynamic research environment that promotes collaborative investigations and provides outstanding opportunities for graduate education.