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Featured Profile: R. Michael Roberts

R Michael Roberts

Renowned University of Missouri reproductive biologist Dr. R. Michael Roberts has made key discoveries that advance human health.

Early in his career, Roberts discovered the role of a family of proteins called interferon tau, necessary for early pregnancy health in livestock. He later developed a sensitive, dependable pregnancy test used widely in the cattle industry.

Roberts has developed stem cells that advance bio-medical research on many topics, including human preeclampsia, a pregnancy disorder leading to 50,000 deaths annually worldwide. He genetically alters um-bilical cells from babies born to preeclampsic mothers to become pluripotent stem cells, which grow into pla-cental tissue, enabling Roberts to study trophoblasts: cells that invade the wall of the womb. He hopes to narrow the search for genetic causes of preeclampsia.

In addition to his reproductive research, Roberts has focused on health more widely. He determined that a particular enzyme could be used to screen postmenopausal women for osteoporosis risk. Additionally, to help improve medical transplants, he implanted human stem cells into pigs with specially modified immune systems. The cells thrived – a discovery that creates research opportunities for scientists worldwide.

Dr. R. Michael Roberts is Curators’ Professor in the Department of Biochemistry,, an interdisciplinary unit of the School of Medicine and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and is a researcher at Bond Life Sciences Center. He has received multiple international awards and is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine