Anna Denicol, D.V.M., M.P.V.M., Ph.D.

Anna Denicol

Position Title
Assistant Professor

2201 Meyer Hall


  • D.V.M., Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, 2003
  • M.P.V.M., University of California, Davis, 2009 (Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine)
  • Ph.D., University of Florida, 2014 (Animal Molecular and Cellular Biology)

Research Interests

Reproductive and developmental biology. Paracrine and endocrine regulation of follicle and oocyte development and carry over effects of adverse environments during folliculogenesis on embryonic development. Biology of ovarian oocyte progenitor cells (oogonial stem cells) and their potential to improve and restore female fertility. Application of basic concepts of reproductive biology and assisted reproductive techniques to improve animal and human health and efficiency of agriculture worldwide.

From activation of primordial follicles to recruitment of a new wave of antral follicles in every estrus or menstrual cycle, a series of timely regulated events must occur to ensure successful female reproduction. Development of an oocyte that can support embryonic survival depends on the orchestrated action of local and systemic factors. Moreover, a new player has recently been introduced in the oogenesis scenario: oogonial stem cells, a population of cells identified in the ovaries of reproductive-age females of several species. These cells have germ cell characteristics, and when isolated from the ovary, can proliferate, differentiate into oocytes, form follicles and generate offspring following fertilization. However, very little is currently known about the biology of these cells and their role in postnatal oogenesis.

My research focuses on local and systemic regulation of preantral follicle growth, effects of environmental changes on the follicular developmental program and carry over effects on embryo development and survival, with the goal of understanding the long term consequences of stressors such as negative energy balance or undernutrition on reproduction. Moreover, I focus on unravelling the physiological roles of oogonial stem cells as a potential source of gametes during postnatal life, and on developing and refining systems where these cells can be used as a model to study oogenesis as well as a tool to improve success of assisted reproductive techniques in livestock, wildlife species and humans.

Graduate Groups

Selected Publications

Denicol AC, Block J, Kelley DE, Pohler KG, Dobbs KB, Mortensen CJ, Ortega MS, Hansen PJ. The WNT signaling antagonist Dickkopf-1 directs lineage commitment and promotes survival of the preimplantation embryo. FASEB J. 2014; 28: 3975-3986. doi: 10.1096/fj.14-253112.

Geary TW, Burns GW, Moraes JG, Moss JI, Denicol AC, Dobbs KB, Ortega MS, Hansen PJ, Wehrman ME, Neibergs H, O’Neil E, Behura S, Spencer TE. Identification of beef heifers with superior uterine capacity for pregnancy. Biol Reprod. 2016; 95(2):47. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.116.141390.

Acosta DA, Denicol AC, Tribulo P, Rivelli MI, Skenandore C, Zhou Z, Luchini D, Corrêa MN, Hansen PJ, Cardoso FC. Effects of rumen-protected methionine and choline supplementation on the preimplantation embryo in Holstein cows. Theriogenology 2016; 85(9):1669-79. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2016.01.024.

Denicol AC, Leao BCS, Dobbs KB, Mingotti GZ, Hansen PJ. Influence of sex on basal and Dickkopf-1 regulated gene expression in the bovine morula. PLoS ONE 2015; 10(7): e0133587. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133587.

Denicol AC, Dobbs KB, McLean KM, Carambula SF, Loureiro B, Hansen PJ. Canonical WNT signaling regulates development of bovine embryos to the blastocyst stage. Sci Rep. 2013; 3: 1266. doi: 10.1038/srep01266.

Denicol AC, Lopes GJ, Mendonça LG, Rivera FA, Guagnini F, Perez RV, Lima JR, Bruno RG, Santos JE, Chebel RC. Low progesterone concentration during the development of the first follicular wave reduces pregnancy per insemination of lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci. 2012; 95: 1794-1806. doi: 10.3168/jds.2011-4650.