Skip to main content

Charles L. Chaffin, PhD

Academic Title:

Associate Professor

Primary Appointment:

Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences

Secondary Appointment(s):


Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

Ripon College (WI), A.B. Psychobiology, 1989

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, M.S. Biological Sciences, 1992

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Ph.D. Biological Sciences, 1996

Oregon National Primate Research Center, Post-doctoral fellow, 1996-2000



I have been committed to women’s reproductive health for my entire career, and I am an expert in ovarian physiology. My dissertation research involved elucidation of the effects of perinatal exposure to environmental endocrine disruptors on ovarian function in rats. As a corollary to my thesis, I became involved in a project aimed at demonstrating the expression of estrogen receptors in the primate ovary. This work led me to an exceptionally productive post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Richard Stouffer at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, where I worked on the mechanisms of ovulation and corpus luteum formation. My primary animal model is the rhesus monkey, and I was trained in the use of non-human primates by Dr. Stouffer during my post-doctoral fellowship. 

My interests have been focused principally on the growth and development of the ovulatory follicle, and the complex process of ovulation and corpus luteum formation. I have special expertise in steroidogenesis and the regulation of the cell cycle. More recently, I have embarked on research addressing the role of the environment on the oocyte and early embryo. The emphasis of these projects has been on physiologic and pathologic aspects of (1) carbohydrate metabolism in the ovary, and (2) pre-conception, prenatal, and adolescent stress. I use a blend of whole animal physiology and molecular biology to address questions that are both fundamental and translational in nature.

Much of my research has been in collaboration with Dr. Catherine VandeVoort of the California National Primate Research Center. We began working closely together in 2000 through a sub-contract to obtain primate granulosa cells, and have collaborated ever since. Her expertise in the oocyte and early embryo form a perfect complement to my knowledge of follicular somatic cells. Since 2003, we have shared authorship on 16 publications, and have made significant contributions in micro-scaling work with primate samples, shipping live cells, culture conditions, animal dosing and handling.  

Research/Clinical Keywords

ovary, ovulation, corpus luteum, stress, development, embryo

Highlighted Publications

Chaffin C.L., Latham K.E., Mtango N.R., Midic U., VandeVoort C.A. Dietary sugar in healthy female primates perturbs oocyte maturation and in vitro preimplantation embryo development. Endocrinology155(7):2688-95,2014.

Chaffin C.L., Vandevoort C.A. Follicle growth, ovulation, and luteal formation in primates and rodents: a comparative perspective. Exp Biol Med (Maywood).238(5):539-48, 2013.

Chaffin, C.L., Lee, Y.S., VandeVoort, C.A., Patel, B.G., Latham, K.E. Rhesus monkey cumulus cells revert to a mural granulosa cell state following an ovulatory stimulus.  Endocrinology153:5535-5545, 2012.

Cherian-Shaw, M., Puttabyatappa, M., Greason, E., Rodriguez, A., VandeVoort, C. A., Chaffin, C. L. Expression of SR-BI and LDL receptor and differential use of lipoproteins to support early steroidogenesis in luteinizing macaque granulosa cells.  Endocrinology 150:957-965, 2009.