David H. Townson

  • Professor
  • Animal/Veterinary Science
  • Phone: 401.874.2811
  • Email: dave_townson@uri.edu
  • Office Location: CBLS, Rm 289


Dr. Townson was born and raised in Michigan, where he attended Michigan State University and received his B.S. degree in Animal Husbandry. A variety of job- and summer-related experiences before, during and after his time at Michigan State led him to complete the M.S. degree in Veterinary Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, characterizing ovulation and luteal function in the mare under the mentorship of O.J. Ginther. From there, he completed his Ph.D. in Dairy Science at The Ohio State University, investigating the regulation of the bovine corpus luteum, with Joy L. Pate as his research advisor. Postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan and the Reproductive Sciences Program followed, where Dr. Townson, working alongside P. Landis Keyes, published ground-breaking work about chemokines and immune cell recruitment in the ovary. Dr. Townson then moved to New Hampshire as an Assistant Professor at the University of New Hampshire where he progressed through the ranks to become Professor. More recently, Dr. Townson served as Chair in the Department of Animal & Veterinary Sciences at the University of Vermont for 6 years before moving back to the seacoast, rejoining the ranks of the faculty, and becoming Professor of Reproductive Physiology in the Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences here at the University of Rhode Island.

Dr. Townson and his spouse, Lisa (also at URI), have 3 grown children, Kyle, Clint, and Kelsey. For hobbies, Dr. Townson enjoys working around the house with Lisa, hiking and beach walks with their two dogs, Zoey and Angus, exploring new places and restaurants, and the possibilities of taking up golf and tennis again, along with other adventures (e.g., biking, kayaking).


The current research in the Townson laboratory focuses on the relationships between nutrient metabolism and the reproductive system with regard to ovarian function. Previous work has included aspects of immune response and cancers of the female reproductive tract. Specifically, we study metabolism underlying aspects of folliculogenesis in dairy cows, with an eye toward a unique, nutrient-sensing, biochemical process called O-GlcNAcylation. Additionally, we are interested in the local elaboration of molecules that attract and recruit immune cells into the ovary, signaling mechanisms that influence cell fate decisions, and the impacts of these processes as they relate to follicular growth and atresia, ovulation, function of the corpus luteum, and the development of certain cancers. Studies encompass whole-animal, systems physiology to cellular and molecular biology. Models include domestic livestock, rodents, primary cell culture, and immortal cell lines.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan, Reproductive Science Program, 1996
  • Ph.D., The Ohio State University (Dairy Science), 1993
  • M.Sc., University of Wisconsin-Madison (Veterinary Science), 1988
  • B.S., Michigan State University (Animal Husbandry), 1984

Selected Publications

Maucieri AM, Townson DH 2021 Evidence and manipulation of O-GlcNAcylation in granulosa cells of bovine antral follicles. Biology of Reproduction 104(4): 914-923. DOI: 10.1093/biolre/ioab013

Jaskiewicz NJ, Townson DH 2019 Hyper-O-GlcNacylation promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition in endometrial cancer cells. Oncotarget 10:2899-2910. DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.26884

Walusimbi SS, Wetzel LM, Townson DH, Pate JL 2017 Isolation of luteal endothelial cells and functional interations with T lymphocytes. Reproduction 53:519-533. DOI: 10.1530/REP-16-0578.

Kamat MM, Vaudevan S, Maalouf SA, Townson DH, Pate JL, Ott TL 2016. Changes in myeloid lineage cells in the uterus and peripheral blood of dairy heifers during early pregnancy. Biology of Reproduction 68:1-12. DOI: 10.1095/biolreprod.116.141069

Trisdale SK, Schwab NM, Hou X, Davis JS, Townson DH 2016 Molecular manipulation of keratin 8/18 intermediate filaments: Modulators of FAS-mediated death signaling in human ovarian granulosa tumor cells. Journal of Ovarian Research 9:8. DOI: 10.1186/s13048-016-0217-z.

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