Jon D. Hennebold

Within the past several years, the resultant data generated from genome-sequencing projects have provided scientists with the opportunity to identify most, if not all, genes that determine the physiology of a particular organism.  For reproductive biologists, such genomic databases allow for the systematic identification and characterization of molecular pathways that are critical for fertility.  The information gained from such studies can be used to further our understanding of the causes of infertility and diseases of the reproductive tract, as well as to identify novel targets for the control of fertility.

A main area of interest for Dr. Hennebold involves identifying and characterizing the molecular events that are necessary for follicle rupture and detachment of the oocyte from the inner cell layer of the follicle, as well as the development and regression of the corpus luteum. Ovulation, luteal formation and luteal regression require significant cellular reorganization and extracellular matrix remodeling. For ovulation to occur, detachment and release of the oocyte must be preceded by loss of cell-to-cell contacts and formation of an extracellular matrix between the cells surrounding the oocyte. The individual genes responsible for initiating and executing these processes have yet to be fully elucidated. Recent genomic studies conducted in a collaborative effort involving Dr. Hennebold and the Center's Dr. Richard Stouffer have led to the identification of genes whose expression increases through the period preceding follicle rupture and, as a consequence, are likely involved in the requisite molecular and cellular events necessary for ovulation. Currently, Dr. Hennebold's team and colleagues are studying the exact contribution these genes play in allowing for the rupture of the ovulatory follicle and the release of the oocyte. The goal of these studies is the development of novel approaches to control fertility, including the identification of processes that promote fertility in women seeking to have children or for the development of non-hormonal female contraceptives. Dr. Hennebold and his group have also systematically identified those genes whose corresponding mRNA levels change within the corpus luteum through its development, period of peak progesterone production, and regression. The end result of these studies will be a better understanding of events necessary for luteal formation and function, as well as the underlying cause of infertility that is related to luteal dysfunction or insufficiency.

Dr. Hennebold also oversees the activities of the ONPRC Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Core, which supports studies that aim to advance our understanding of reproduction and development in clinically relevant model systems. ART Core services include, but are not limited to, controlled ovarian stimulation, oocyte retrieval, granulosa cells and follicular fluid, sperm, IVF, ICSI, embryo transfer, ultrasonography, and oocyte/embryo culture. In addition to its regular services, the Core seeks to develop new ART reagents, services, and expertise that advance studies of reproductive processes. The Core’s technology development objectives include identifying methods to optimize in vitro fertilization/ART success rates in terms of embryo generation and development, advancing ARTs in species that are valuable research models and evaluating recently developed molecular techniques that likely represent an efficient means to generate relevant disease models.



Dr. Hennebold is a Professor, and Chief of the Division of Reproductive & Developmental Sciences. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Physiology & Pharmacology at OHSU. Dr. Hennebold currently serves as the Director of the ONPRC Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Core, which supports research activities involving nonhuman primate studies of reproductive biology. He received his Ph.D. in immunology and cell biology at the Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine in 1996. Dr. Hennebold then conducted his postdoctoral training in reproductive sciences at the University of Utah Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. In 2000, he joined ONPRC as a Staff Scientist, promoted to Assistant Scientist in 2003. Dr. Hennebold served as Interim Division Chief for 2 years and appointed as Chief just recently in 2016. 


Key Publications

Bishop, CV, Aazzerah, RA, Quennoz, LM, Hennebold, JD, and Stouffer, RL. (2014). Effects of steroid ablation and progestin replacement on the transcriptome of the primate corpus luteum during simulated early pregnancy. Mol Hum Reprod 20:222-234. PMCID: PMC3925330

Peluffo, MC, Stanley, J, Braeuer, N, Rotgeri, A, Fritzemeier, KH, Fuhrmann, U, Buchmann, B, Adevai, T, Murphy, MJ, Zelinski, MB, Lindenthal, B, Hennebold, JD, and Stouffer, RL. (2014) A prostaglandin E2 receptor antagonist prevents pregnancies during a preclinical contraceptive trial with female macaques. Hum Reprod. 29:1400-1412. PMCID: PMC4059334

Peluffo, MC, Ting, AY, Zamah, AM, Conti, M, Stouffer, RL, Zelinski, MB, Hennebold, JD. (2012). Amphiregulin promotes the maturation of oocytes isolated from the small antral follicles of the rhesus macaque. Hum Reprod. 27:2430-2437. PMCID: PMC3398676 


See a full listing of Dr. Hennebold's publications