Designated Emphasis in Reproductive Biology

About the Faculty

Sean Burgess:

We study the chromosome events of meiotic prophase I, including pairing, synapsis and recombination between homologous chromosomes, in budding yeast and zebrafish. Visit my web page for more information.

Gary Cherr:

Our laboratory focuses on the effects of natural and human-derived stressors on reproduction and development of marine organisms. We utilize developing systems as sensitive yet simple models for understanding mechanisms of toxicity and environmental stress. In addition, we investigate the physiological mechanisms by which these systems tolerate environmental stress.
The laboratory essentially has two main foci: The first is more basic in nature and deals with molecules and physiological mechanisms involved in fertilization and early development.
The second is focused on the impacts of pollutants and altered habitats on early life stages that may ultimately lead to changes in populations. Visit my web page for more information.

Bruce Christensen:

Members of my lab are investigating early pregnancy markers for mares in feces, urine, and serum, efficacy of intrauterine antibiotic treatment for mare endometritis, the effect of phytoestrogens on mare reproductive cycles, the use of early diagnostic tests to detect uterine disease in exotic carnivores, and the utility of fluorescent biomarkers in sperm for measuring male canine fertility. Many of these studies are done using domestic species as a model for their wildlife counterparts.

Al Conley:

Comparative vertebrate reproductive biology, with interests in sexual differentiation, steroidogenesis and reproductive endocrinology, male reproductive function, female reproductive function, pregnancy and parturition.

Anna Denicol:

I am interested in investigating the biological significance and potential applications of ovarian stem cells to enhance and restore fertility. The physiological roles of this cell population in the adult ovary are still not clear, although there is growing evidence of the differentiation potential of these cells into oocytes and ability to fertilize and generate offspring in mice. My recent work has focused on characterizing ovarian stem cells in bovine ovaries and on the optimization of an ovarian tissue culture system that supports their differentiation into oocytes. My research also focuses on pre-antral follicle development with the goal of better understanding the mechanisms of early stage follicular growth and carry over effects of suboptimal environments on development of early follicles into preimplantation embryos. Visit my webpage for more information.

JoAnne Engebrecht:

We are investigating molecular mechanisms underlying germline biology and meiotic progression using C. elegans and related nematodes as models. We are particularly interested in mitotic and meiotic checkpoints, DNA repair and damage signaling, sex chromosomes, germline stem cells and chromatin modifications. Visit my web page for more information.

Ellen Gold:

Current research activities/interests:

• Lifestyle and Other Factors related to Hot Flashes, Timing of Menopause and Vaginal Symptoms

• Lifestyle and Ovarian Function in Midlife Women

• Endocrine and other health effects of environmental exposures in women

• Dietary interventions for breast cancer

• Symptoms related to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment

Visit my web page for more information.


Russ Hovey:

The Hovey lab is interested in all aspects of mammary gland biology and lactation as it relates to developmental biology, reproduction, milk production and breast cancer. Our work uses a wide range of in vitro and animal models, and is particularly centered on the endocrine, environmental and dietary factors that affect these processes. Visit my web page for more information.

Neil Hunter:

We study the mechanism and regulation of homologous recombination during meiosis. Recombination is essential for accurate chromosome segregation at the first division of meiosis and produces new combinations of gene alleles that fuel evolution. Defective recombination is associated with infertility, pregnancy miscarriage and aneuploid disorders such as Down Syndrome.

Current research is focused on two areas: (i) the formation and resolution of joint molecule recombination intermediates that result from the exchange of DNA strands between homologous chromosomes; (ii) the regulation of recombination and its integration with the other chromosomal events of meiotic prophase. We apply a broad range of techniques to study these problems in both yeast and mouse systems. These include molecular genetics , immunofluorescence cytology, biochemistry and mass spectrometry. Visit my web page for more information.

Bill Lasley:

I am currently involved in one of the largest studies of mid-aged women (SWAN) and have recently published new concepts relating to the role of ovarian function in changes in phenotype that occur during the menopausal transition. More importantly, I presented at the annual Endocrine Society Meetings over the last four years previously unknown relationships between the ovary and adrenal during the menopausal transition and have published ten peer-reviewed reports on this topic. I hold a Core Staff Scientist position at the California National Primate Research Center where I am director of the Endocrine Core that provides an international service for both limited reagents and hormone analyses.

Frank McNally:

The McNally lab is interested in the question: Why is female meiosis always asymmetric? We study potential selective advantages of asymmetric meiosis including correction of trisomy and preventing interference between sperm and oocyte meiotic spindles. In addition we work on the mechanisms that position meiotic spindle asymmetrically in oocytes using C. elegans as a model. Visit my web page for more information.


Stuart Meyers:

Our laboratory is focused on male infertility and cryopreservation biology of sperm. Recent studies have been centered on paternal influence on early embryo development and oxidative mechanisms of sperm damage. We use a diverse set of animal models including the horse, nonhuman primate, dog, and fish in our studies on sperm and embryos.

Pablo J. Ross:

Reproductive biology with emphasis on gamete and embryo development. Epigenetic remodeling during embryonic development, somatic cell nuclear transfer, embryonic stem cells, and induced pluripotency. Development and application of assisted reproductive techniques in livestock species.

Cheryl Walker:

As a Research Obstetrician with sub-specialty training in reproductive infectious diseases, immunology and epidemiology, I have a unique skill set to apply to the study of the role of the gestational environment on adverse neurodevelopment. My current focus is on obstetric risk factors, particularly those involving maternal metabolic and placental physiology, as they relate to autism and related cognitive and behavioral delays and deviations.