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Reproductive Physiology

Heather Billings

headshot of Heather Billings

Associate Professor

Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy 
West Virginia University 
Morgantown, WV 26506 
Phone: (304) 293-1623 


Post Doc, Reproductive Sciences Program, University of Michigan 
, Animal Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1999 
BS, Biological Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1993


The first area of research is identifying the role of neurokinin-B in the retrochiasmatic area of the hypothalamus in mediating estradiol negative feedback, and the interaction of neurokinin-B responsive neurons with A14/A15 dopaminergic cell groups in the same region. The second area of research is identifying the pathway and mechanisms through which estrogen-receptor-alpha-containing neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus are involved in seasonal inhibition of GnRH and LH secretion in ewes.


I am currently fortunate to be able to pursue my long time passion for teaching and am currently teaching in human gross anatomy courses for medical, dental, dental hygiene and nursing students. Further, I am developing a new research program focused on improving educational approaches in the teaching of human anatomy. In particular, my interest is in introducing innovative curricula for the teaching of undergraduate anatomy courses by integrating clinical concepts into these courses. This research program is still in its infancy, so I hope to have more updates in the future.


Billings HJ. Neurokinin B: a new player in immune/inflammatory stress-mediated suppression of reproduction. Endocrinology, 155:2346-2348, 2014. 

Merkley CM, Porter KL, Hileman SM,  Billings HJ, Drews S, Coolen LM, Goodman RL, Lehman MN. KNDy (Kisspeptin/Neurokinin B/Dynorphin) Neurons are Activated During Both Pulsatile and Surge Secretion of LH in the Ewe. Endocrinology, 153:5406-5414, 2012. 

Ressetar H, Allen E, Walker E, Kraszpulska B,  Billings H. Abdomen and Pelvis Interactive Learning Objects. MedEdPORTAL; 2011. Available from: 

Goodman, RL., Holaskova I, Nestor C, Connors J,  Billings HJ, Valent M, Lehman M, and Hileman S. Evidence that the arcuate nucleus is an important site of progesterone negative feedback in the ewe. Endocrinology 2011 152: 3451-3460. 

Walker E , Allen E, Kraszpulska B,  Billings H, Upper Limbs Interactive Learning Objects. MedEdPORTAL; 2010. Available from: 

Walker E , Allen E,  Billings H. Thorax Interactive Learning Objects. MedEdPORTAL, 2010. Available from: 

Billings HJ, Connors JM, Altman SN, Hileman SM, Holaskova I, Lehman MN, McManus CJ, Nestor CC, Jacobs BH, Valent M, Goodman RL. Neurokinin B acts via the neurokinin 3 receptor in the retrochiasmatic area to stimulate luteinizing hormone secretion in sheep. Endocrinology, 151: 3836-3846, 2010. 

Goodman RL, Jansen HT,  Billings HJ, Coolen LM, Lehman MN. Neural Systems Mediating Seasonal Breeding in the Ewe. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 22: 674-681, 2010. 

Amstalden M, Coolen LM, Hemmerle AM,  Billings HJ, Connors JM, Goodman RL, Lehman MN. Neurokinin 3 Receptor Immunoreactivity in the Septal Region, Preoptic Area and Hypothalamus of the Female Sheep: Colocalization in Neurokinin B Cells of the Arcuate Nucleus but not in Gonadotrophin-Releasing Hormone Neurones. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 22:1-12, 2010. 

Hileman S, Nestor C, Bogusz A,  Billings H, Valent M, Goodman R. Neuropeptide Y-1 receptors mediate the suppression of LH secretion by NPY in castrated male sheep. Slovak J. Anim. Sci., 42, Supplementum 1: 13-20, 2009. 

Bogusz AL, Hardy SL, Lehman MN, Connors JM, Hileman SM, Sliwowska JH,  Billings HJ, McManus CJ, Valent M, Singh SR, Nestor CC, Coolen LM, Goodman RL. 2008. Evidence that gamma-aminobutyric acid is part of the neural circuit mediating estradiol negative feedback in anestrous ewes. Endocrinology.149:2762-72. Epub 2008 Mar 6. 

Sliwowska JH,  Billings HJ, Goodman RL, Lehman MN. 2006. Immunocytochemical colocalization of GABA-B receptor subunits in gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons of the sheep. Neuroscience. 141: 311-319. 

Billings HJ, Viguié C, Karsch FJ, Goodman RL, Connors JM, Anderson GM. 2002. Temporal requirements of thyroid hormones for seasonal changes in LH secretion. Endocrinology 143:2618-25. 

Debus N, Breen KM, Barrell GK,  Billings HJ, Brown M, Young EA, Karsch FJ. 2002. Does cortisol mediate endotoxin-induced inhibition of pulsatile luteinizing hormone and gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion? Endocrinology 143:3748-58. 

Anderson GM, Hardy SL, Valent M,  Billings HJ, Connors JM, Goodman RL. 2003. Evidence that thyroid hormones act in the ventromedial preoptic area and the premammillary region of the brain to allow the termination of the breeding season in the ewe. Endocrinology 144:2892-901.