Laura Hernandez

Position title: Professor, Animal and Dairy Sciences


Phone: Lactation biology


B.S. 2002 New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
M.S. 2004 New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Ph.D. 2008 University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ
Postdoctoral Position 2011 University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Laura Hernandez. Professor, Dairy Science. Lactation biology.

NIH Biosketch
PubMed Publications
Department Website

Research Focus

The overall goal of our laboratory is to understand how autocrine/paracrine factors in the mammary gland regulate mammary gland development, as well as milk synthesis and secretion.  We utilize a combination of in vitro and in vivo models, with a variety of mammalian species (mice, cattle, humans) to understand how the mammary gland and the mother adapt to lactation.  We also utilize a combination of molecular and whole animal physiological techniques to understand mammary gland physiology.

Our laboratory is focused on mammary gland biology and lactation.  In particular our area of research is centered around how serotonin made in the mammary gland affects mammary gland development and lactation.  In particular, one major area of focus for our laboratory is how serotonin regulates the mother’s ability to regulate calcium homeostasis at the onset of lactation.  Calcium is critical to milk formation and is the most abundant mineral in milk, but is also an important mineral that governs many of the mother’s physiological processes.  We are interested in the role serotonin plays in modulating calcium between the mother and the milk during lactation.  Every mammal must mobilize a certain portion of their skeleton to maintain adequate circulating calcium levels in addition to supporting the formation of milk.

A second area interest is the role of serotonin in modulating glucose metabolism during the immediate pre-partum period and the immediate postpartum period in mammals.   Serotonin appears to be important to the modulation of glucose concentrations, and also appears to be important for energy sensing within the mammary gland.

Program Activities

  • Joined ERP Program: 2011
  • Teaching
    • OBS&GYN 711 – Advanced Reproductive Endocrine Physiology
  • ERP T32 Steering Committee Member
  • ERP T32 Faculty Trainer


Current ERP students

  • Hannah Fricke (PhD in progress)
  • Rafael Reis Domingues (PhD in progress)
  • Alysia Vang (PhD in progress)

Past ERP students

  • Justin Bohrer, MD (MS)
  • Samantha Weaver (PhD)