Photo of Shawn L. Chavez, Ph.D.

Shawn L. Chavez Ph.D.

  •      (503) 346-5423
    • Assistant Professor Oregon National Primate Research Center
    • Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology School of Medicine
    • Assistant Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology School of Medicine
    • Affiliate Member, Primate Genetics Section Oregon National Primate Research Center
    • Faculty GT.Center for Embryonic Cell & Gene Therapy
    • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences School of Medicine

Shawn L. Chavez is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Reproductive & Developmental Sciences at the Oregon National Primate Research Center and in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Physiology & Pharmacology at Oregon Health & Science University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from Yale University, receiving the John Spangler Nicholas Dissertation Award upon graduation, and her B.S. in Biological Sciences with Honors and the Distinction in Major Award from the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Fellow. Shawn completed her Postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University, where she was a NIH/NICHD Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellow, before joining the faculty at OHSU/ONPRC in 2013.

Dr. Chavez’s expertise is in embryo culture and manipulation, real-time imaging of early embryogenesis, and single-cell chromosomal and gene expression profiling, with particular emphasis on the origins of whole chromosomal abnormalities (aneuploidy) during mammalian pre-implantation development. She is also actively investigating the dynamics of trophoblast differentiation in early primate embryogenesis and its contribution to subsequent placentation in normal development and pregnancy complications such as pre-term labor. Other areas of research include examining the role of certain endogenous retroviruses in reproductive health and disease as well as unraveling potential differences in the expression and function of particular DNA methyltransferases in mammalian gametogenesis.  Collectively, the goals of this research are to enhance our understanding of normal primate gametogenesis, embryogenesis, and placentation, whilst improving pregnancy outcomes for infertile couples undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment and those women impacted by pre-term birth.

Shawn has over 30 peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals such as Nature, Nature Communications, Nature Biotechnology, Human Molecular Genetics, and Stem Cells. Her work has been honored, recognized and supported through a series of distinguished awards and achievements, including the Abby and Howard Milstein Innovation Award in Reproductive Medicine, Howard and Georgeanna Jones Foundation for Reproductive Medicine Young Investigators Achievement Award, Philanthropic Educational Organization Scholar Award, Elsevier Science New Investigator Award, and Dr. John Gusdon Memorial New Investigator Award. Shawn's research has been funded by grants from the NIH/NICHD, Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, Howard and Georgeanna Jones Foundation, and Collins Medical Trust.

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Areas of interest

  • Aneuploidy and chromosomal instability
  • Embryonic micronuclei formation
  • Mitosis and abnormal cleavage divisions
  • Pre-implantation embryo development
  • DNA methyltransferases in gametogenesis
  • Endogenous retroviruses in reproduction
  • Trophoblast differentiation and placentation
  • Fellowship:

    • 2007-2010 NIH/NICHD Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Post-Doctoral Fellowship
    • 1996-1997 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Undergraduate Fellowship

Memberships and associations

  • Associate Editor for Molecular Human Reproduction (MHR), 2014-present
  • Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR), 2014-present
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), 2014-present
  • International Embryo Technology Society (IETS), 2016-present


Selected publications

  • Endogenous Retroviruses: With Us and Against Us. Meyer, T.J., Rosenkrantz, J.L., Carbone, L., and Chavez, S.L. Frontiers in Chemistry 2017 5(23): 1-8 PMCID: PMC5384584.

  • IFPA meeting 2016 workshop report I: Genomic communication, bioinformatics, trophoblast biology and transport systems. Albrecht, C., Baker, J.C., Blundell, C., Chavez, S.L., Carbone, C., Chamley, L., Hannibal, R.L., Illsley, N., Kurre, P., Laurent, L.C., McKenzie, C., Morales-Prieto, D., Pantham, P., Paquette, A., Powell, K., Price, N., Rao, B.M., Sadovsky, Y., Salomon, C., Tuteja, G., Wilson, S., O'Tierney-Ginn, P.F. Placenta 2017 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28108031.

  • Vertebrate embryonic cleavage pattern determination. Hasley, A., Chavez, S.L., Danilchik, M., Wühr, M. and Pelegri, F. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 2017 953: 117-171 PMID: 27975272.

  • Chromosomal Instability in Mammalian Pre-implantation Embryos: Potential Causes, Detection Methods and Clinical Consequences. Daughtry, B.L. and Chavez, S.L. Cell and Tissue Research 2016 363(1): 201-225 PMID: 26590822.

  • Prediction model for aneuploidy in early human embryo development revealed by single-cell analysis. Vera-Rodriguez, M., Chavez, S.L., Rubio, C., Reijo Pera, R.A., Simón C.  Nature Communications 2015 6:7601 PMCID: PMC4506544. 

  • Intrinsic retroviral reactivation in human pre-implantation development and pluripotent cells. Grow, E.J., Flynn, R.A., Chavez, S.L., Bayless, N.L., Wossidlo, M., Weshe, D., Martin, L., Ware, C., Blish, C., Chang, H.Y., Reijo Pera, R.A., Wysocka, J.  Nature 2015 522(7555): 221-225 PMCID: PMC4503379.

  • Single-cell XIST expression in human preimplantation embryos and newly reprogrammed female induced pluripotent stem cells. Briggs, S.F., Dominguez, A.A., Chavez, S.L., Reijo Pera, R.A Stem Cells 2015 33(6): 1771-1781 PMCID: PMC4441606.

  • Mammalian Pre-Implantation Chromosomal Instability: Species Comparison, Evolutionary Considerations and Pathological Correlations. Carbone, L. and Chavez, S.L. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine 2015 61(6): 321-335 PMID: 26366555.

  • Comparison of epigenetic mediator expression and function in mouse and human embryonic blastomeres. Chavez, S.L., McElroy, S.L., Behr, B., Bossert, N.L., De Jonge, C.J., Westphal, L.M., Reijo Pera, R.A. Human Molecular Genetics 2014 23 (18): 4970-4984 PMCID: PMC4140471.

  • Dynamic blastomere behaviour reflects human embryo ploidy by the four-cell stage. Chavez, S.L., Loewke, K.E., Han, J., Moussavi, F., Colls, P., Munne, S., Behr, B., Reijo Pera, R.A. Nature Communications 2012 3:1251 PMCID: PMC3535341.


  • "GATA2/3-TFAP2A/C transcription factor network couples human pluripotent stem cell differentiation to trophectoderm with repression of pluripotency." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America  In: , Vol. 114, No. 45, 07.11.2017, p. E9579-E9588.
  • "Vertebrate embryonic cleavage pattern determination."   Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Vol. 953 Springer New York LLC, 2017. p. 117-171 (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology; Vol. 953).
  • "Endogenous retroviruses : With us and against us." Frontiers in Chemistry In: , Vol. 5, No. APR, 23, 2017.
  • "Microfluidics in reproductive biology : Applying lab-on-a-chip technologies to assisted reproduction." Molecular Human Reproduction In: , Vol. 23, No. 4, 2017, p. 211-212.
  • "IFPA meeting 2016 workshop report I : Genomic communication, bioinformatics, trophoblast biology and transport systems." Placenta In: , 12.12.2016.
  • "Chromosomal instability in mammalian pre-implantation embryos : potential causes, detection methods, and clinical consequences." Cell and Tissue Research In: , Vol. 363, No. 1, 01.01.2016, p. 201-225.
  • "Mammalian pre-implantation chromosomal instability : Species comparison, evolutionary considerations, and pathological correlations." Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine In: , Vol. 61, No. 6, 02.11.2015, p. 321-335.
  • "Prediction model for aneuploidy in early human embryo development revealed by single-cell analysis." Nature Communications  In: , Vol. 6, 7601, 07.07.2015.
  • "Intrinsic retroviral reactivation in human preimplantation embryos and pluripotent cells." Nature  In: , Vol. 522, No. 7555, 11.06.2015, p. 221-246.
  • "Single-cell XIST expression in human preimplantation embryos and newly reprogrammed female induced pluripotent stem cells." Stem Cells In: , Vol. 33, No. 6, 01.06.2015, p. 1771-1781.
  • "Preimplantation Embryo Development and Primordial Germ Cell Lineage Specification."  Knobil and Neill's Physiology of Reproduction: Two-Volume Set. Vol. 1 Elsevier Inc., 2014. p. 233-265.
  • "Comparison of epigenetic mediator expression and function in mouse and human embryonic blastomeres." Human Molecular Genetics In: , Vol. 23, No. 18, ddu212, 2014, p. 4970-4984.
  • "Generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells using epigenetic regulators reveals a germ cell-like identity in partially reprogrammed colonies." PLoS One In: , Vol. 8, No. 12, e82838, 12.12.2013.
  • "Dynamic blastomere behaviour reflects human embryo ploidy by the four-cell stage." Nature Communications In: , Vol. 3, 1251, 2012.
  • "An antibody against SSEA-5 glycan on human pluripotent stem cells enables removal of teratoma-forming cells." Nature Biotechnology  In: , Vol. 29, No. 9, 09.2011, p. 829-834.
  • "Parthenogenic blastocysts derived from cumulus-free In Vitro matured human oocytes." PLoS One In: , Vol. 5, No. 6, e10979, 2010.
  • "Instructing an embryonic stem cell-derived oocyte fate : Lessons from endogenous oogenesis." Endocrine Reviews In: , Vol. 30, No. 3, 05.2009, p. 264-283.
  • "Isolation and characterization of pluripotent human spermatogonial stem cell-derived cells." Stem Cells In: , Vol. 27, No. 1, 01.2009, p. 138-149.
  • "Characterization of six new human embryonic stem cell lines (HSF7, -8, -9, -10, -12, and -13) derived under minimal-animal component conditions." Stem Cells and Development  In: , Vol. 17, No. 3, 01.06.2008, p. 535-546.
  • "Trophoblast-macrophage interactions : A regulatory network for the protection of pregnancy." American Journal of Reproductive Immunology  In: , Vol. 57, No. 1, 01.2007, p. 55-66.

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