Rocío Melissa Rivera

Rocio Rivera


Professor of Reproductive Physiology and Epigenetics

Division of Animal Sciences

Research at a glance

Area(s) of Expertise

Research Summary

Assisted reproduction in humans and animals has been linked to inappropriate control of the epigenome in gametes and preimplantation embryos that results in adverse consequences during fetal and postnatal development. Commonly used assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures include: ovarian hyperstimulation (superovulation), in vitro maturation, in vitro fertilization, intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, embryo culture, and embryo transfer. The research conducted in my laboratory aims at understanding the mechanisms whereby manipulations of mammalian gametes and embryos result in alterations of the epigenome.

Rocío completed her M.S. at Iowa State University in the laboratory of the late Dr. Steve Ford. She then pursued a doctoral degree in the laboratory of Dr. Peter J Hansen at the University of Florida. For her post-doctoral training, Rivera worked in the laboratories of Dr. Richard Schultz and Dr. Marisa Bartolomei at the University of Pennsylvania. She attended the Frontiers in Reproduction course in 2007. She joined the Division of Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri as an assistant professor in fall of 2007. In fall of 2019, Rocío participated in the Master of Biology and Technology of Reproduction program at the University of Murcia, Spain, as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. She is currently a Professor in the Division of Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri. Her area of research is in Reproduction and Epigenetics. The research conducted in the Rivera laboratory aims to identify mechanisms that lead to alterations of the epigenome in oocytes and embryos as a result of procedures commonly used during assisted reproduction in humans and animals. A main project in her laboratory focuses on the characterization of large/abnormal offspring syndrome, an ART-associated loss-of-imprinting overgrowth syndrome in ruminants.

Educational background

  • Ph.D., University of Florida, 2003