Dr. Townson was born and raised in Michigan, where he attended Michigan State University and received his BS degree in Animal Husbandry. A variety of job- and summer-related experiences before, during and after his time at Michigan State led him to complete the MS degree in Veterinary Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, characterizing ovulation and luteal function in the mare under the mentorship of O.J. Ginther. From there, he completed his PhD in Dairy Science at The Ohio State University, investigating the regulation of the bovine corpus luteum, with Joy L. Pate as his research advisor. Postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan and the Reproductive Sciences Program followed, where Dr. Townson, working alongside P. Landis Keyes, published ground-breaking work about chemokines and immune cell recruitment in the ovary. Dr. Townson then moved to New Hampshire as an Assistant Professor at the University of New Hampshire where he progressed through the ranks to become Professor. The recent move to the University of Vermont occurred in 2016, when Dr. Townson became Professor and Chair of the Department of Animal & Veterinary Sciences.
The current research in the Townson laboratory focuses on the relationships between the immune system and the reproductive system with regard to ovarian function and cancers of the female reproductive tract. Specifically, we study the local elaboration of molecules that attract and facilitate leukocyte recruitment, signaling mechanisms that influence cell fate decisions, and impacts of these processes as they relate to follicular growth and atresia, ovulation, function of the corpus luteum, and the development of certain cancers. Studies encompass whole-animal, systems physiology to cellular and molecular biology. Models include domestic livestock, rodents, primary cell culture, and immortal cell lines.