Biographical Information

Dr McNatty received his MSc (1st Hons) degree at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand in chemistry and his PhD in Reproductive Biology at the University of Edinburgh, UK with Professor Roger Short, Director of the then MRC Unit of Reproductive Biology. The subject of his PhD thesis was ‘Steroid Production by Human Ovaries in Culture’. From this work he developed the hypothesis that the granulosa cells and oocyte in individual developing ovarian follicles contain a unique endocrine microenvironment at any moment in time and that each follicle responds to the gonadotrophins individually and not identically. Following his PhD studies Dr McNatty undertook postdoctoral studies continuing his work on human ovaries at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA with the late Professor Ken Ryan (1977-1979). In 1980/81 he was awarded the Boerhaave Professorship at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands where he worked with Professor Steve Hillier on assessing ovarian follicular function during the late luteal/early follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Since 1982, apart from sabbatical leave, Dr McNatty has been a Science Programme Leader in Reproductive Biology at the Wallaceville Animal Research Centre, Upper Hutt. In 1992 he was the recipient of the McMeekan Award for contributions to animal production research and in 1993 was awarded a DSc in physiology from Victoria University of Wellington for his achievements in animal reproductive biology. In recent years, the major focus of his research has been to elucidate the physiological mechanisms in sheep with naturally occurring genetic mutations that lead to sterility or increased ovulation rates. Dr McNatty has been privileged to be part of a team that has identified mutations in two oocyte-derived growth factors as well as a growth factor receptor present on both oocytes and granulosa cells. These findings, together with follow-up physiological studies, have established that the oocyte actively contributes to the unique endocrine microenvironment within each follicle and plays a major role in regulating ovulation rate, at least, in some species.