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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 Regional Commission has awarded MSU a $500,000 grant to continue the Appalachian Rural Dental Educational Program, an initiative started in 2011 with the University of Kentucky and the University of Pikeville to increase the number of practicing dentists in Appalachia, and provide a campus-based oral health awareness program. For more information, click here to view the official news release.
      • The Office of Accounting & Financial Services has released the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year Fringe Benefit Rates for all sponsored program budgeting. These rates are in effect for grants and contracts beginning on or after July 1, 2014. For more information, please contact the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs at 606-783-2010.
      • The US Environmental Protection Agency, through the Kentucky Division of Water, has awarded Morehead State University a three-year, $376,893 grant for implementation of the Triplett Creek Watershed Based Plan. Led by Environmental Center Director April Haight, the project aims to reduce nonpoint source pollutant loads in the Triplett Creek Watershed and meet water quality standards by implementing a plan that calls for a range of best management practices that target sediment, bacteria, nutrients, and other pollutants. Additional information about this project can be found by contacting April Haight at 606-783-2455.
      • The Kentucky Environmental Education Council has awarded Morehead State University a $112,000 grant to administer the Kentucky University Partnership for Environmental Education (KUPEE). KUPEE focuses on achieving systemic change in the way universities prepare educators and future leaders by ensuring environmental education is central to colleges of education across the Commonwealth. Led by Biology Professor Brian Reeder, KUPEE is a partnership between MSU and Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, and Western Kentucky University. For more information about the project, please contact Brian Reeder at 606-783-2957.
      • The US Department for Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded Morehead State University a 3-year, $267,064 grant to design and implement a campus Suicide Prevention Program on all of MSU's campuses.  Directed by Mental Health Counselor Carol Barnett, the project seeks to create a Suicide Prevention Program that will systematically create a campus environment that is safer for all students, staff, and faculty, to intervene and assist those at risk for suicide, and to create an enhanced infrastructure to promote a cultural change regarding the perception of mental health. For more information about the project, please contact Carol Barnett at 606-783-2123.




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