Karl Kerns, Ph.D.

Karl Kerns, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Dept of Animal Science, Iowa State University
  • Adj. Assistant Professor, Division of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia


Contact Info

Kildee Hall
806 Stange Rd
Social Media and Websites

About Kerns Lab

Welcome to the Kerns Lab at Iowa State University's Department of Animal Science, part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. We specialize in molecular reproductive physiology with a focus on understanding and enhancing livestock sire fertility.

Research Focus

At Kerns Lab, our passion and expertise lie in unraveling the complexities of boar and bull sperm fertility as well as sires of other species. Utilizing a comprehensive multi-omic approach, including proteomics, metabolomics, lipidomics, genomics, and epigenomics, we delve into the molecular intricacies that govern reproductive success in livestock. Our innovative use of advanced techniques such as epifluorescent and confocal microscopy, image-based flow cytometry (IBFC) with the ImageStreamX Mark II, sorting flow cytometry (BD FACSMelody and BD FACSDiscover S8), and classic molecular biology methods like Western blotting, positions us at the cutting edge of molecular male reproductive physiology research.


The Kerns Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including an andrology lab, a molecular biology lab, and an in vitro fertilization (IVF) lab. Our IVF lab is renowned for its capability to perform time-lapse in vitro embryo imaging, providing unprecedented insights into early developmental stages. Additionally, the lab hosts the Single Cell Phenomics Center, which supports groundbreaking research in single-cell phenomic analysis, furthering our understanding of cellular heterogeneity and function in reproductive physiology and other disciplines.


Andrology & Molecular Biology Lab

Collaborations and Impact

Our lab is not just a hub of scientific inquiry but also a beacon for collaboration and innovation. Through the Andrology Analytics lab, we offer fee-for-service engagements with industry partners, facilitating the translation of our research into practical applications that benefit the agricultural sector and beyond. Our collaborative efforts extend across disciplines and institutions, aiming to foster advancements that resonate throughout the field of animal science and reproductive biology.

Education and Outreach

Dr. Kerns is deeply committed to education, dedicating a significant portion of his efforts to teaching and mentoring the next generation of scientists. Courses in ANS Anatomy and Physiology Lab and Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Animal Science are just a few examples of how the Kerns Lab contributes to the academic environment at ISU, nurturing curiosity, critical thinking, and a passion for innovation in our students.

Join us at Kerns Lab, where science meets fertility, innovation meets tradition, and tomorrow's discoveries are being unearthed today.

Want to join our lab?

Reach out to Dr. Kerns by email, at kkerns@iastate.edu to discuss graduate school opportunities.