Alan Ealy examines how various physiologic, metabolic and environmental stresses during early pregnancy impacts reproduction in cattle and sheep, and uses it as a model for understanding similar processes in humans.
Cattle infertility has been a problem for many decades, but appears to be growing worse in recent years. As an example, only one-quarter to one-third of all lactating dairy cows will conceive and carry a pregnancy to term at each breeding cycle. Ealy seeks to determine environmental and biological factors that lead to early pregnancy failure by examining embryonic and placental cell lines in cattle and sheep. He seeks to understand the embryo-uterine interactions that control events of early pregnancy as well as the impact of reproductive technologies, such as artifical insemination and milking, on the developmental origin of health and diseases. These studies can be translated to the human given similarities in fetal development between ruminants and humans and the ease of physiology-based experimentation in ruminants.