John J. Parrish

Professor - Reproductive Physiology




Office Location

1675 Observatory Dr
752 Animal Sciences
Madison, WI 53706

John Parrish grew up in Fresno California and obtained a BS in Animal Science from California State University Fresno in 1997 (summa cum laude), a Ph.D. in Animal Science and Physiology from Cornell University in 1984 and was a postdoctoral scientist in the Department of Meat and Animal Science at UW-Madison from 1983 – 1988.  In 1988 he was hired as an Assistant professor, promoted to Associate Professor in 1995, and Professor in 2000. The department has undergone name changes from Meat and Animal Science, Animal Sciences and now Animal Sciences and Dairy Science. 

In his research role, Dr. Parrish’s focus has been on male physiology.  In that role, he has worked on bovine sperm capacitation, in vitro fertilization, intracellular regulation of sperm biochemistry, male fertility, imaging approaches to evaluate sperm, the impact of heat stress on bovine and porcine spermatogenesis, and role of human inflammatory bowel disease and treatment on human sperm fertility.  Among Dr. Parrish’s major accomplishments are 2 papers that are among the most ever cited in reproductive biology dealing with capacitation of bovine sperm and in vitro fertilization in the bovine having 1611 and 1328 citations respectively. 

In his teaching role, Dr. Parrish has been instrumental in reinitializing the use of large domestic animals in the Animal Science teaching program, integration of web-based design into a blended class delivery, websites that allow access to teaching material on general reproduction and equine reproduction used by thousands of individuals each year around the world.  On-campus and national level, he has provided leadership in teaching improvement, teaching as a scholarly activity, and integration of technology in teaching. 

Dr. Parrish has a wealth of experience in different animal species from the domestic livestock species of cattle (dairy and beef), water buffalo, pigs, horses, llama, camel, chickens, turkeys, the rodents and laboratory species of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig, rabbit, the pet species of dog and cat, the fish rainbow trout and flathead minnow, and also in the human.  

Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles

Rempel LA, Krautkramer MM, Parrish JJ, Miles JR. 2019. Impact of seasonality, storage of semen, and sperm headshape on whole tissue methylation and expression of methylation responsive candidate genes in swine placenta and fetal livers from summer and winter breedings. Molecular reproduction and development 86:465-475.  

Feugang JM, Rhoads CE, Mustapha PO, Tardif S, Parrish JJ, Willard ST, Ryan PL. 2019. Treatment of boar sperm with nanoparticles for improved fertility. Theriogenology 137:75-81.

Parrish JJ, Willenburg KL, Gibbs KM, Yagoda KB, Krautkarmer MM, Loether TM, Melo FCSA. 2017. Scrotal insulation and sperm production in the boar. Molecular Reproduction and Development 84:969-978.

Parrish JJ, MF Smith, RD Geisert, DL Davis, ME Wilson, WL Flowers. 2015. How to Communicate with Undergraduate Students that lack an Animal Science or Agricultural Background. Animal Frontiers 5:54-59.

Parrish JJ. 2014.  Bovine in vitro fertilization: In vitro oocyte maturation and sperm capacitation with heparin. Theriogenology 81(1):67-73.

Sartori,R., R. Sartor-Bergfelt, S. A. Mertens, J.N. Guenther, J.J. Parrish and M.C. Wiltbank. 2002. Fertilization and early embryonic development in heifers and lactating cows in summer and lactating dry cows in winter.  J. Dairy Sci. 85:2803-2812.

Ostermeier,G.C.,  G. A. Sargeant, B. S. Yandell, and J. J. Parrish.  2001. The measurement of bovine sperm nuclear shape using Fourier harmonic amplitudes. J. Androl. 22(4):584-94.

Parrish, J.J., J.L. Susko-Parrish and J.K. Graham.  1999. In vitro capacitation of bovine spermatozoa: Role of intracellular calcium.  Theriogenology 51:461-472.

Parrish, J.J. , A. Krogenaes and J.L. Susko-Parrish.  1995.  Effect of bovine sperm separation by swimup or percoll on success of in vitro fertilization and embryo development.  Theriogenology 44:859-869.

Vredenburgh-Wilberg W.L. and J.J. Parrish.  1995.  Intracellular pH of bovine sperm increases during capacitation.  Molec. Reprod. Dev.  40:490-502.

Parrish J.J., J.L. Susko-Parrish, C. Uguz and First, N.L.  1994.  Differences in the role of cAMP during capacitation of bovine sperm by heparin or oviduct fluid.  Biol. Reprod. 51:1099-1108.

Eid, L.N., S.P. Lorton and J.J. Parrish.  1994.  Paternal influence of S-phase in the first cell cycle of the bovine embryo.  Biol. Reprod. 51:1232-1237.

Parrish, J. J., J. L. Susko-Parrish and N. L. First.  1989.  Capacitation of bovine sperm by heparin:  inhibitory effect of glucose and role of intracellular pH.  Biol. Reprod. 41:683-699.

Parrish, J. J., J. L. Susko-Parrish, M. A. Winer and N. L. First.  1988.  Capacitation of bovine sperm by heparin.  Biol. Reprod. 38:1171-1180.  

Parrish, J. J., J. L. Susko-Parrish, M. L. Leibfried-Rutledge, E. S. Critser, W. H. Eyestone and N. L. First.  1986.  Bovine in vitro fertilization with frozen-thawed semen.  Theriogenology 25:591-600.

Selected Book Chapters

Parrish JJ. 2019. Spermatogenesis, heat stress and male infertility, In: Molecular Mechanisms In Spermatogenesis And Male Infertility. Ed: Rajender Singh. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA. p. 167-173. (

Parrish J.J. 2018. Polyestrous. In: Encyclopedia of Animal Cognitions and Behavior. Eds J. Vonk and T.K. Shackelford. Springer International Publishing AG, Gewerbestrasse, Switzerland. Pp 1 – 5.

Parrish J.J. 2016. Comparative mammalian male reproduction: cattle overview. In: Encyclopedia of reproduction, second edition. Eds. B. Jegou and M.K. Skinner. Elsevier. Vol. 1. Pp 495-500.

Parrish, J.J. and N.L. First.  1993.  Fertilization.  Reproduction in Domesticated Animals.  G. King ed. Elsevier Press, New York, pp. 195-228.

Parrish, J.J. and N.L. First. 1991. Bovine in vitro fertilization.  In: A Comparative Overview of Mammalian Fertilization (Dunbar and O’Rand, eds)  pp. 351-361.

Parrish, J.J.  1991.  Application of in vitro fertilization to domestic animals.  In:  The Biology and Chemistry of Mammalian Fertilization, Volume II.  P.M. Wassarman, ed. CRC Press, New York, pp. 111-132.  

Selected Conference Proceedings

Parrish JJ. 2016. Pipetting Techniques. 26th Meeting of the National Association of Animal Breeders, Columbia MO. p128-130.

Parrish JJ. 2016. Challenges of collection, processing and analyzing young sire semen. 26th Meeting of the National Association of Animal Breeders, Columbia MO. p53-55.

Parrish JJ. 2016. Morphology overview. 26th Meeting of the National Association of Animal Breeders, Columbia MO. p67-70.

Parrish JJ. 2016. Overview of Young Sire Sexual Maturation. 26th Meeting of the National Association of Animal Breeders, Columbia MO. p15-19.

Parrish JJ, Ostermeier C, Schindler J, Willenburg K, Enwall L, Kaya A. 2014. Quantifying sperm nuclear shape with Fourier harmonic analysis and relationship to spermatogenesis and fertility. Association for Applied Animal Andrology 2014 meeting. p30 – 49. In. International Veterinary Information Service,

Parrish J. 2012. Evaluation of Sperm Morphology. 24th Meeting of the National Association of Animal Breeders, Columbia MO. (178-181)

Parrish J, Schindler J, Willenburg K, Enwall L, Kaya A. 2012. Quantitative sperm shape analysis: What can this tell us about male fertility. 24th Meeting of the National Association of Animal Breeders, Columbia MO. (74-80)

Parrish, J.J., L. Enwall, A. Kaya, C. Pawshe, M.A. Siddiqui, M. Shamusuddin. 2006. Sperm shape research: an update. 21st Meeting of the National Association of Animal Breeders, Columbia MO.  p19-26.

Parrish, J.J. and G.C. Ostermeier. 1998. Fourier harmonic analysis of sperm morphology. 17th Meeting of the National Association of Animal Breeders, Columbia Mo. pp. 25-31.

Parrish, J.J. and L. Eid.  1994.  In vitro fertilization and its relationship to bull fertility.   15th Technical Conference on Artificial Inseminatin and Reproduction.  National Association of Animal Breeders, Columbia Mo.  pp. 68-73. 

Selected Videos

Cover female anatomy, male anatomy, artificial insemination, palpation, estrus detection, semen collection and motility evaluation.

Swine farrowing

Equine anatomy, insemination, heat detection, semen collection, breeding soundness exam, embryo/fetal development, parturition. 

Undergraduate Courses

An Sci 375 – Equine Reproductive Management (2 credits, Spring)
Course Description: An introductory course in reproductive management of the mare and stallion.  A blended learning course that also includes hands-on labs.
Requirements: None but Animal Science 434 – Reproductive Physiology may be helpful

An Sci/Dy Sci 434 – Reproductive Physiology (3 credits, Fall)
Course Description: Principles of reproductive physiology, improvement of fertility, and artificial insemination.
Requirements: Jr st, An Sci/DY SCI/​AN SCI  101, or Zool 101 102; Zool 151 152 recommended

Graduate Courses

ERP 875 – Endocrinology (1-4 credits, Fall)
Course Description: contains online lecture and discussion of this graduate class covering endocrinology of the testis, epididymis, and spermatogenesis.
Requirements: graduate standing

AS 875 – Advanced Reproduction (Fall)
Course Description: Online class jointly offered by 12 universities as an introductory graduate class in reproduction. Fall 2017, Fall 2020.

Member Society for the Study of Reproduction, 1990-2009, 2020
Member of American Society of Animal Sciences, 1998-present (Co-chair 2008 ASAS meeting Teaching Symposium)
USDA-NRI Reproductive Efficiency Pannel Member, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005
NIH Review Panel, U54 Center on Male Fertility, 2002
NIH Review Panel, Contraceptive Network Centers, 2006
NIH Review Panel, Reproduction, Andrology and Gynecology Study section, 2006, 2008
Scientific Advisor to National Association of Animal Breeders, 1998, 2006, 2016.
Local Arrangement Co-Chair of Society for the Study of Reproduction meeting in Madison, WI. July, 2000.
Teaching academy summer institute UW-Madison, 2011- 2019
Teaching academy winter and fall retreat program committee (2020)
Chair Teaching and Learning Technology Advisory Group (2019-2021; main UW-Madison campus committee overseeing use of technology in teaching)
Various Department Committees 

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, 1992, UW-Madison. 

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Pound Research Award, 1996, UW-Madison 

Sabbatical Leave, UW-Madison: 1996, 2008  

University of Wisconsin System Teaching Scholar, 2001-2002 

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Jung Teaching Award, 2003 

USDA-NCR57-Committee on Reproduction-President, 1992, 2008, 2015 

Appointed the University of Wisconsin-Madison Teaching Academy, 2009 

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Excellence in International Activities Award, 2014 

Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award – 2015 

American Society of Animal Science Distinguished Teaching Award – 2018 

Parrish JJ, PREDICITION OF FERTILITY IN MALES, US Patent 10,641,763 B2; May 5, 2020.