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Biomedical Sciences
Donald H. Schlafer
Professor of Comparative Obstetrical and Gynecological Pathology

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Donald Schlafer

Phone: 607 253 3319
Fax: 607 253 3357
Dr. Donald H. Schlafer is Professor of Comparative Reproductive Pathology and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists and the American College of Theriogenologists. He came to Cornell in 1982 as a faculty member in the Department of Pathology and was Director of the Bovine Research Center from 1982 to 1991. After receiving the DVM degree from Cornell in 1974, Dr. Schlafer earned a Master's degree in virology in 1975. After three years of private practice in Albany, New York, he did a residency in anatomical pathology at the University of Georgia. His dissertation research was done at the USDA's Plum Island Animal Disease Center between 1979 and 1982. His dissertation dealt with the pathogenesis of transplacental infection in African swine fever. He received a Ph.D. degree in 1982. Dr. Schlafer is active in departmental DVM, residency and graduate teaching and training programs. He specializes in reproductive pathology and has an active research program on the pathophysiology of fetal/placental diseases.

Research Interests

Placental Pathophysiology: Given its physical and functional roles as the interface between the fetus and its mother, the placenta controls fetal development and pregnancy outcome. My research program deals with understanding mechanisms through which placental diseases develop, and, in turn, how placental function and fetal well-being are affected. This work also seeks to clarify how damaged placentas compensate for functional insufficiency. In recent years, we have investigated mechanisms responsible for the high rate of loss of cloned cattle and have shown that abnormal expression of MHC Class 1 antigens induce a maternal inflammatory response that is associated with these failed pregnancies. I am also interested in comparative reproductive pathology, and have spent sabbatical leaves at Oxford University and the San Diego Zoo.


I enjoy participating in many courses offered to our veterinary students, residents, and graduate students and playing a role in professional meetings, both nationally and internationally. I frequently speak at national and international meetings of veterinary pathologists and theriogenologists and have been a visiting professor at different universities.

Selected Publications

  1. Schlafer, D. H.: Equine Endometrial Biopsy: Enhancement of Clinical Value by More Extensive Histopathology and/or Application of New Diagnostic Techniques? Theriogenology 68 (3):413-422, 2007.
  2. Davies,C.J, J.A. Eldridge, P.J. Fisher and D.H. Schlafer: Evidence for expression of both classical and non-classical major histocompatibility complex class I genes in bovine trophoblast cells. Am. J. Reprod. Immunol. 55(3):188-200, 2006.
  3. Vanderwall, D.K., G.L. Woods, J.F. Roser, D.H. Schlafer, D.C. Sellon, D.F. Tester and K.L. White: Equine cloning: applications and outcomes. Reprod. Fertil. Dev. 18(2):91-98, 2006.
  4. Vanderwall, D.K. and D.H. Schlafer: Large Ossified Remnant of the Yolk Sac. Theriogenology Question of the Month. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 229 (2):215-217, 2006.
  5. Romagnoli, S. and D.H. Schlafer: Disorders of sexual differentiation in puppies and kittens: a diagnostic and clinical approach. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, May 2006, 36 (3):573-606, 2006.
  6. Vanderwall, D.K., G.L. Woods, D.C. Sellon, D.F. Tester, D.H. Schlafern and K.L. White: Present status of equine cloning and clinical characterization of embryonic, fetal, and neonatal development of three cloned mules. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 225(11):1694-1696, 2004.
  7. Davies, C.J., J.R. Hill, J.L. Edwards, F.N. Schrick, P.J. Fisher, J.A. Eldridge and D.H. Schlafer: Major histocompatability antigen expression on the bovine placenta: its relationship to abnormal pregnancies and retained placenta. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 82-83:267-280, 2004.
  8. Beiting, D.P., S.K. Bliss, D.H. Schlafer, V.L. Roberts and J.A. Appleton: Interleukin-10 limits local and body cavity inflammation during infection with muscle-stage Trichinella Spiralis. Infect. Immun. 72(6):3129-3137, 2004.
  9. Kutzler M.A., J. Molnar, D.H. Schlafer, and P.W. Nathanielsz : Maternal dexamethasone increases endothelin -1 sensitivity and endothelin A receptor expression in ovine fetal placental arteries. Placenta 42:392-402, 2003.
  10. Hill, J., D.H. Schlafer, P.J .Fisher, and C.J. Davies: Expression of major histocompatibility complex class-I and associated lymphocyte response in bovine first trimester somatic cell nuclear transfer pregnancies. Biol. Reprod. 67 (1): 55-63, 2002.
  11. Sandoval, C., P.J. Fisher, and D.H. Schlafer. Characterization of trophoblast cell populations in the canine placenta during development by lectin histochemistry. J. Reprod. Fertil. Suppl 57,199-206, 2001.
  12. Cohen, M., J.E. Saidla, and D.H. Schlafer: A spontaneously occurring mammary gland ductal carcinoma in situ in a rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) and a review of spontaneous mammary gland tumors in rhesus monkeys. J. Med. Primatol. 30:121-126, 2001.
  13. Davies, C.J., P.J.Fisher, and D.H.Schlafer : Temporal and regional regulation of major histocompatibility complex class I expression at the bovine uterine/placental interface. Placenta 21:194-202, 2000.
  14. Schlafer, D.H., P.J.Fisher, and C.J.Davies : The bovine placenta before and after birth: Placental development and function in health and disease. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 60-61:145-160, 2000.