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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 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.
      • Morehead State University's 21st Century Education Enterprise has been awarded a $149,999 grant from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education's Improving Educator Quality program for its project titled "Engineering Authentic Experiences in the Next Generation Science Classroom.” Click here for more information.
      • Dr. Alison Hruby, Assistant Professor of English, has been awarded a $2,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Her project, titled "The effects of frequent reading on the reading comprehension abilities of tenth grade struggling readers in rural Kentucky," aims to improve the reading comprehension of tenth grade students placed in a remedial English class by increasing the students' reading time by at least 100 minutes per week. The outcome of the project will be measured using the students' reading scores on the Spring 2015 Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test. For more information about the project, please contact Dr. Hruby at 606-783-2732 or via e-mail.
      • The National Institutes of Health has renewed the Kentucky IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (KBRIN) Program. Headed by the University of Louisville, KBRIN aims to develop a network of support, infrastructure and capacity for biomedical researchers and educators within the Commonwealth. The total award to Morehead State University totals $463,845, which includes neuroscience laboratory renovations in Reed Hall. For additional information, please contact Dr. Bruce Mattingly, KBRIN Program Coordinator, at 606-783-2544 or via e-mail.
      • Dr. Kurt Gibbs, Assistant Professor of Biology, has received a $319,346 award from the National Institutes of Health Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) program. Dr. Gibbs' proposal, titled "miRNA expression after spinal cord compression injury in Xenopus laevis," aims to determine how developmental changes in microRNA expression affect the ability of Xenopus frogs to regenerate their spinal cords, which in turn can increase understanding of the genetic regulation associated with recovery from spinal cord injury and generate new therapeutic targets to promote recovery in humans. For additional information, please contact Dr. Gibbs at 606-783-2932 or via e-mail.
      • Early Child, Elementary and Special Education Professor Edna Schack has been awarded more than $154,000 from the National Science Foundation's Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program for a collaborative project focused on developing prospective teachers' professional noticing skills with respect to children's mathematical thinking. The three-year project, titled "Collaborative Research: TECHNO: TECHnology-Centered Mathematical NOticing," is a collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Thomas (Northern Kentucky University), Dr. Molly Fisher (University of Kentucky), and Dr. Cindy Jong (University of Kentucky). The project builds upon previous work by further developing previously successful materials, and includes a new focus on early algebraic thought. For additional information, please contact Dr. Schack at 606-783-2501 or via e-mail.
      • 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.




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