Tesfaye Lab

The Tesfaye Laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms associated with various aspects of female reproduction including ovarian functionality and preimplantation embryo development, predominantly using the bovine model with translational facets to humans.

The mission of the Tesfaye Lab is to:

  • Provide state-of-the-art professional training to undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral fellows in molecular reproductive physiology, with a special emphasis on designing experiments, interpreting data, and superior presentation and publication of results.
  • Provide trainees with the latest advancements in scientific investigation and methodologies in the field of reproductive biology.
  • Facilitate a productive and collaborative interaction between science and implementation in the field.
  • Contribute to the wellbeing of humans, animals, and the environment.
  • Provide a creative, supportive, collaborative, challenging, and enjoyable environment for scientific research in the field of reproductive physiology, with a special emphasis on female reproductive function.
research project

Extracellular Vesicle-coupled miRNAs in Stress Adaptation

Our lab is currently investigating the mechanisms underlying the packaging and release of precise miRNA cargo into EVs and their potential use to offset the detrimental effects of environmental stressors that ultimately affect granulosa cell function and oocyte/ embryonic development.

research project

Oviductal Organoids in Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Organoids represent biomimetic, three-dimensional, in vitro cell clusters that organizationally self-regenerate into complex structures to mirror the physiological function of their tissue of origin. Our lab currently utilizes organoids to study and recapitulate oviductal physiology in vitro, with the potential to farm EVs for downstream use in current IVF systems.

research project

Deciphering the impact of Advanced Maternal Age on Fertility

A focus in our lab is to understand the cellular and extracellular molecular responses of ovarian follicular cells and their corresponding EVs to advanced maternal age (AMA) and to investigate the possibility of developing strategies to tackle AMA-associated infertility problems.

research project

Nrf2-mediated Oxidative Stress Response

In this project, we are aiming to investigate the impact of modulating Nrf2-Keap1 signaling in bovine embryos, primarily through pharmacological (antioxidant activation) and genetic (CRISPR-Cas9 mediated knockout of Keap1) approaches on subsequent embryo survival and viability under suboptimal conditions.

research project

Antioxidant Roles in Follicular Cells and Oocytes

To improve the in vitro culture environment, our lab investigates the impact of various antioxidants (quercetin, carnosol, sulforaphane, etc.) to counteract the detrimental undertakings caused as a result of exposure to both oxidative and/or environmental stressors.


Bovine oviductal organoids: a multi-omics approach to capture the cellular and extracellular molecular response of the oviduct to heat stress

Menjivar NG, Gad A, Thompson RE, Meyers MA, Hollinshead FK, Tesfaye D. BMC Genomics 2023; 24(1):646.

Extracellular vesicle-microRNAs mediated response of bovine ovaries to seasonal environmental changes

Gad A, Joyce K, Menjivar NG, Heredia D, Rojas CS, Tesfaye D, Gonella-Diaza A. . J Ovarian Res. 2023 May 23;16(1):101.

Granulosa cell-derived extracellular vesicles mitigate the detrimental impact of thermal stress on bovine oocytes and embryos

Menjivar NG, Gad A, Gebremedhn S, Ghosh S, Tesfaye D. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology; 11.

Dynamics of extracellular vesicle-coupled microRNAs in equine follicular fluid associated with follicle selection and ovulation

Gebremedhn S, Gad A, Ishak GM, Menjivar NG, Gastal MO, Feugang JM, Prochazka R, Tesfaye D, Gastal EL. Mol. Hum. Reprod. 2023.

Current knowledge and the future potential of extracellular vesicles in mammalian reproduction

Tesfaye D, Menjivar N, Gebremedhn S. Reprod. Fertil. Dev. 2021; 34(2):174–189.

more publications
27 undergraduate and graduate students mentored
180+ manuscripts published in scientific journals since 2003
16 grants and awards totaling over $2.4 million in funding


Dawit Tesfaye, PhD

Principal Investigator | Associate Professor
Department of Biomedical Sciences

Nico Menjivar, MS

PhD Candidate
Funding: USDA-NIFA-AFRI Predoctoral Fellowship

Ghyslaine Ramírez, DVM

PhD Student
Funding: Fulbright-CONICYT

Heather Rogers, MS

PhD Student
Funding: Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine

Brandi Dunn, DVM, MS

PhD Student
Funding: USDA-NNF Graduate Fellowship

Jessica Wittenstein, MS

PhD Student
Funding: USDA-NNF Graduate Fellowship

Tesfaye Lab, Fall 2023

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contact information

Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory Building, Foothills Campus
3105 Rampart Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80521
Office: W131
Laboratory: E119

(530) 564-2806