Sherrill E. Echternkamp
Dr. Echternkamp’s research focuses on the regulation of ovarian follicular development and the production of fertile female gametes (eggs) and their association with improving early embryonic survival and reproductive rate in postpartum and cyclic beef cattle. Low gamete (egg) quality, prolonged postpartum anestrus, early embryonic mortality and single births are major contributors to the low productivity of beef cattle relative to other meat-producing species. Research approaches to optimizing ovarian follicular development naturally or artificially have linked anatomical changes within the ovaries, measured by ultrasonography and histology, with quantitative measurements of physiological function (e.g., reproductive hormones and growth factors) and gene expression. Such studies have utilized prolific and nonprolific populations of both cattle and sheep. Dr. Echternkamp contributed to the development of the USMARC Twinner population, utilizing repeated measurements of ovulation rate in pubertal heifers to increase the frequency of fraternal twin births to the current rate of about 60%.