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Joy Pate, Ph.D., Honored by Society for the Study of Reproduction

Posted: February 21, 2020

Pate, Professor of Reproductive Physiology in the Department of Animal Science, will receive the Society's 2020 Trainee Mentoring Award at its annual meeting.

Joy L. Pate, Ph.D., Professor of Reproductive Physiology in Penn State’s Department of Animal Science, has been honored by the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) with its 2020 Trainee Mentoring Award.

The prestigious award, to be presented at SSR’s 53rd annual meeting in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in July, recognizes an SSR member who has had significant impact on trainees within the SSR as a mentor.

Dr. Pate is the C. Lee Rumberger and Family Chair in Agricultural Sciences and is Director of the Center for Reproductive Biology and Health. She joined the Penn State faculty in 2008.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, “I offer sincerest congratulations to Dr. Pate for receiving this well-deserved national recognition. She has had a tremendous impact on graduate students and post docs, offering them enthusiastic support and encouragement as they do their research. We deeply appreciate the exceptional gifts she brings and her remarkable talents in working with others.”

Dr. Pate said, “It is such a great honor to have been nominated for this award by my former graduate students. Working with graduate students is one of the best parts of an academic career, and I have been blessed with some exceptional students, who make mentoring easy!”

She received her Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire and was appointed as Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University in 1983, where she was promoted to Professor and served a term as Associate Chair of the Department of Animal Sciences. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Delaware in animal science.

Her research focuses on the cellular mechanisms that regulate the lifespan of the bovine corpus luteum (CL). Her work has provided insight into cholesterol utilization for steroidogenesis, the roles of endogenous prostaglandin production in luteal function, and the mechanisms by which exogenous prostaglandin results in the demise of the CL. Current research emphases are to understand functional programming of luteal-resident immune cells to regulate tissue homeostasis, and the role of microRNA in regulation of differentiation and rescue of the corpus luteum during early pregnancy. The overall goal of her research is to improve pregnancy rates in dairy cattle.

Active in SSR, Dr. Pate has served as Program Chair, Director, Secretary, President and on numerous committees, and received the Distinguished Service Award from SSR in 2011.

She co-chaired the Organizing Committee of the Inaugural World Congress on Reproductive Biology held in Hawaii in 2008 and was a member of the Organizing Committee of the International Ruminant Reproduction Symposium.

Four of Dr. Pate's students offered letters of support in nomination of this award. Camilla H.K. Hughes, Ph.D., explained why she felt Dr. Pate was worthy. “Dr. Pate holds her students to the most rigorous of scientific standards, while allowing us freedom to pursue the research questions that interest us. She places high value on being available to us, making it clear that she values us over her other commitments. Most importantly, she has an infectious passion and enthusiasm for science that she passes on to all her students, inspiring us to engage, learn, and discover… Dr. Pate’s passion for science, her kindness, her unique ability to see and understand what each individual student needs, and her uncompromising sense of scientific rigor together make her a truly exceptional mentor.”

Hughes has begun a postdoc at Université de Montréal, studying the ovarian reserve of follicles.

Dr. Pate has been involved in undergraduate and graduate teaching throughout her career, including development of study abroad programs to Australia and the Azores, and has received numerous teaching awards.

Widely published, she has spoken at universities throughout the United States and at symposia around the world, traveling to every continent except Antarctica.