Research & Funding
"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen, and thinking what nobody has thought"
-Albert Szent-Gyorgi (Nobel Laureate, Physiology or Medicine, 1937)
Little is known about the essential differentiation program initiated by retinoic acid (RA) that prepares male germ cells for meiosis, and the pathways and proteins involved are poorly defined. A primary reason for this gap in knowledge is there are few reported changes in steady-state mRNA levels during this process, preventing identification of the full complement of involved gene products to inform focused studies.
Our group is focused on a variety of strategies that we think will provide a better understanding of neonatal germ cell differentiation at the onset of spermatogenesis, including: 1 - using transgenic and knockout mice to define the requisite molecular signaling pathways downstream of RA, 2 - determining the role of RA in translational regulation during spermatogonial differentiation, and 3 - defining how RA responsiveness regulates spermatogonial fate and the formation of the foundational SSC pool at the beginning of spermatogenesis.
We are fortunate to be currently funded by 2 grants from the NIH/NICHD (https://www.nichd.nih.gov) through the Cellular, Molecular, and Integrative Reproduction (CMIR) Study Section. We have an R15/AREA grant until 2018 (2R15HD072552), as well as an R01 until 2022 (1R01HD090083).