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MSU Home :: Michael C. Henson, Ph.D.
Michael C. Henson, Ph.D.
Michael C. Henson, Ph.D.

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Michael C. Henson, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School / Professor of Agricultural Sciences
Program/Dept: Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, The Graduate School
Degrees, Licensures and Certifications: PhD, University of Arkansas, MS and BS, University of Tennessee
Contact Info:
901 Ginger Hall
Phone: 606-783-9080


Michael C. Henson was appointed Professor, Associate Vice President, and Dean of the Graduate School at Morehead State University in July 2012.  He holds BS and MS degrees from the University of Tennessee, the PhD degree from the University of Arkansas, and further training through a National Research Service Award as NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in Perinatal Endocrinology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, where he later served as Research Assistant Professor.  He then became Assistant Professor and was later promoted to Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, where he was Director of Ob-Gyn Research, Chief of the Section of Perinatal Research, and Affiliate Scientist at the Tulane National Primate Research Center.  During that time he also held adjunct faculty appointments in the Departments of Physiology and Anatomy, and membership in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology.  In 2004, Dr. Henson was honored by Tulane University as Dissertation Director of the Year and was recognized as a Newcomb College Fellow and as a Fellow of the Tulane Center for Evidence-Based Global Health for his contributions to women’s health research.  He later moved to Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana as Professor and Head of the Department of Biological Sciences, where he chaired the University’s Research Board.  He then became Interim Dean of the School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science and served in that capacity until coming to MSU.

Dr. Henson’s research in reproductive physiology originally focused on the roles of microminerals in fertility and then on the neuroendocrine regulation of lactation and steroid hormone production in cattle and sheep.  The NIH, CDC, and private foundations supported his later investigations in humans and nonhuman primates at the University of Maryland and Tulane University Schools of Medicine, which described estrogen’s role in maintaining progesterone synthesis during pregnancy via the low-density lipoprotein receptor, as well as the potential for secondary cholesterol sources to fuel the progesterone production needed to maintain threatened pregnancies until normal term.  Interests in fetal toxicology resulted in identifying cadmium, a metal that is an industrial pollutant and constituent of tobacco smoke, as an inhibitor of progesterone synthesis that linked maternal exposure to premature labor and miscarriage.  His interests also include leptin, which is a protein hormone that regulates energy utilization and promotes conceptus development.  Work in his laboratory defined leptin dynamics with advancing pregnancy and suggested a role for the hormone in regulating fetal lung maturation.

Dr. Henson has taught many courses in the life sciences at undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels and is certified by the National Society of Experiential Education in the Fundamentals of Theory and Best Practice in Experiential Education, and in Teaching and Learning Experientially.  He has served as an invited peer reviewer for the NIH, NSF, MRC (UK), Canadian Diabetes Association, USDA, for over forty scientific journals, on five editorial boards, and has been honored with membership in Sigma Xi – the Scientific Research Society.  His research is illustrated in well over one hundred peer-reviewed scientific papers, chapters, and presentations at scientific meetings, and in book editorships, published progress reports, funded research grants, invited lectures, and the personal mentorship of more than fifty graduate trainees.   

Research and Sponsored Programs Calendar

Research News

      • The Appalachian Rural Dental Education Partnership (ARDEP), funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission since 2011, is a partnership between MSU, The University of Kentucky and St. Claire Regional Medical Center formed to develop a sustainable rural dental education program for the Appalachian region of Kentucky. Additionally, the program helped establish onsite oral health services. This informational video feature provides more information.

      • The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is proud of Morehead State University’s world-class faculty, whose dedication to teaching, service and research are highlighted in the inaugural edition of Faculty Profiles of Research, Creativity and Student Engagement. This new annual publication highlights the diverse array of faculty and student scholarship taking place at MSU.

      • MSU's Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) has received a $155,000 award from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support long-term disaster recovery in Eastern Kentucky. The project, led by RSVP Project Director Teresa Judd, will support two volunteer case management positions to aid in the on-going needs of the residents affected by the floods that devastated areas of in Carter, Rowan, and Johnson counties in July 2015. For additional information, click here.

      • Dr. Shannon Harr, Director of Research Integrity and Compliance in the MSU Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, is the 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Staff Service Award. The award, initiated in 1990, honors staff that demonstrate service above and beyond one's job responsibilities both on campus and in the community. More information about Dr. Harr and the Staff Service Award is available here.

      • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded MSU's Space Science Center a $7.9 million contract as part of its Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) to advance concept studies and technology development projects in the areas of advanced propulsion, habitation and small satellites. This contract is the largest sponsored research program award in the University's history. Click here for more information.




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