Michael C. Henson, Dean, The Graduate School, Associate Vice President For Research and Professor, Agricultural Sciences
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.