About the Lab
Over the last 25 years, our research program has focused on the identification and functional analysis of genes and pathways involved in mammalian reproduction. In many cases, we have taken a discovery-based approach to first uncover novel genes expressed exclusively in the male or female germlines and then to define their roles in vivo, using transgenic models.
In the process, we have identified novel genes involved in oocyte-somatic cell interactions during ovarian folliculogenesis (e.g., GDF9 and BMP15), oocyte-to-embryo transition (e.g., ZAR1 and NPM2), germ-cell intercellular bridge formation (e.g., TEX14), the piRNA pathway (e.g., GASZ), etc. Infertility in male mice lacking a specific gene would also indicate that the gene product is a promising and novel target for contraception in men. Indeed, we have begun to characterize small-molecule contraceptives in vivo.
We have also created new models by which to study ovarian cancer and to decipher the crosstalk of TGF-beta superfamily (e.g., activin, inhibin, BMP, and GDF), hormonal (e.g., FSH and LH), and small RNA (e.g., DICER and GASZ) signaling pathways in normal and diseased reproductive tissues.