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Thomas E. Spencer Joins WSU in Baxter Chair Position, Aims to Beef Up Reproductive Science

PULLMAN, Wash. — Dr. Tom Spencer has joined the Washington State University Department of Animal Sciences as the new Baxter Professor of Beef Research. Internationally recognized as a leader and researcher in the field of reproductive biology, Spencer has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to advance the fundamental sciences of uterine biology and pregnancy and apply those findings to relevant applications that improve the reproductive efficiency of livestock

Dr. Tom Spencer is the new WSU Baxter Professor of Beef Research in the Department of Animal Sciences.
Dr. Tom Spencer is the new WSU Baxter Professor of Beef Research in the Department of Animal Sciences. Click image to download high-resolution version.

“Spencer brings a nationally recognized program of research excellence to WSU’s forward looking animal sciences department, and further strengthens WSU’s ongoing partnership with the beef industry,” said Margaret Benson, chair of the Department of Animal Sciences. “We are delighted to be able to fill the prestigious Baxter Chair with an outstanding researcher whose impact will be relevant to the beef industry as well as the scientific community. We welcome Tom to WSU.”

“I am honored and excited to join the Department of Animal Sciences and Center for Reproductive Biology at WSU, and eager to work with WSU scientists and the Pacific Northwest livestock industry to solve relevant problems that impact livestock production enterprises as well as human health,” Spencer said.

The long-term goal of Spencer’s research program is to discover and understand key hormonal, cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating development and function of the uterus and placenta. Fundamental knowledge gained from the pursuit of this goal will advance understanding of basic uterine biology and pregnancy, as well as provide the basis for rational design of therapies aimed at the prevention and treatment of infertility and pregnancy loss in domestic animals and humans.

Spencer was raised in Auburn, Ala., where he was active in vocational agriculture programs in junior high and high school. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Animal and Dairy Science at Auburn University and his Ph.D. in Reproductive Biology from Texas A&M University. He was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow in Cell and Molecular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine from 1995 to 1997. Between 1997 and 2001, he was a Research Assistant Professor in the Texas A&M University Institute of Biosciences and Technology. Between 2002 and 2011, he was Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and then Professor and AgriLIFE Research Faculty Fellow in the Texas A&M University Department of Animal Science.

Spencer has earned several honors including: Outstanding Young Animal Scientist Award-Research from the American Society of Animal Science (2003); Society for the Study of Reproduction New Investigator Award (2004); the Sigma Xi Young Investigator Award (2005); and the Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence for Research On-campus, both as a member of a research team in 2005 and for diversity in 2011.

He served as chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Reproductive Tract Biology (2008), associate editor for Biology of Reproduction (2005-2009), and as a member of review panels for NASA, NIH and USDA extramural grants programs. He currently serves as a permanent member of the Pregnancy and Neonatology Study Section for the NIH, as associate editor for Domestic Animal Endocrinology, and as an editorial board member for Reproduction and American Journal of Reproductive Immunology. He is a member of many scientific societies, and is particularly active in the Society for the Study of Reproduction.

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