- Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program | John C. Herr

John C. Herr


  • PhD, University of Iowa
  • Postdoc-Res, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA


Research Interest(s)

Spermatogenesis and oogenesis; fertilization; cancer-testis and cancer-oocyte neoantigens.

Research Description

Dr. Herr is a reproductive and developmental cell biologist with a primary interest in genes and proteins that are expressed specifically in the sperm and in the egg [spermatogenesis and oogenesis]. His laboratory studies sperm proteins involved in motility, capacitation, the acrosome reaction, and fertilization, as well as egg proteins involved in fertilization and early embryogenesis, particularly egg membrane metalloproteases involved in sperm-egg recognition and RNA binding proteins involved in pre-patterning. His laboratory studies not only the fundamental process of gamete development and fertilization but also applies the knowledge gained to practical applications in human biology through intellectual property creation and technology transfer. One interest is to identify tumors that revert to the gametogenic pathway and to define biomarkers and drug targets useful in cancer diagnosis and immunotherapy. Another aim is to identify drug targets for new non-steroidal approaches for male and female contraception. Dr. Herr has been awarded more than 25 patents and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Link to Dr. Herr's Ted Talk to get the flavor of his research on cancer-oocyte neoantigens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfhNlqL6y1E&list=PLsRNoUx8w3rPpWtR0UJ8Y4_WqLnGjM7uR&index=4

Selected Publications

  • Suryavathi V, Panneerdoss S, Wolkowicz M, Shetty J, Sherman N, Flickinger C, Herr J. Dynamic Changes in Equatorial Segment Protein 1 (SPESP1) Glycosylation During Mouse Spermiogenesis. Biology of reproduction. 2015;92(5): 129. PMID: 25761597
  • Pires E, Hlavin C, Macnamara E, Ishola-Gbenla K, Doerwaldt C, Chamberlain C, Klotz K, Herr A, Khole A, Chertihin O, Curnow E, Feldman S, Mandal A, Shetty J, Flickinger C, Herr J. SAS1B protein [ovastacin] shows temporal and spatial restriction to oocytes in several eutherian orders and initiates translation at the primary to secondary follicle transition. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 2013;242(12): 1405-26. PMID: 24038607 | PMCID: PMC4091973
  • Shumilin I, Cymborowski M, Chertihin O, Jha K, Herr J, Lesley S, Joachimiak A, Minor W. Identification of unknown protein function using metabolite cocktail screening. Structure (London, England : 1993). 2012;20(10): 1715-25. PMID: 22940582 | PMCID: PMC3472112
  • Sachdev M, Mandal A, Mulders S, Digilio L, Panneerdoss S, Suryavathi V, Pires E, Klotz K, Hermens L, Herrero M, Flickinger C, van Duin M, Herr J. Oocyte specific oolemmal SAS1B involved in sperm binding through intra-acrosomal SLLP1 during fertilization. Developmental biology. 2011;363(1): 40-51. PMID: 22206759 | PMCID: PMC3307385
  • Zhang Z, Shen X, Gude D, Wilkinson B, Justice M, Flickinger C, Herr J, Eddy E, Strauss J. MEIG1 is essential for spermiogenesis in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2009;106(40): 17055-60. PMID: 19805151 | PMCID: PMC2746124