Phone: (517) 353-7750
BS, University of Kentucky
PhD, University of Virginia
Postdoctoral Research, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA
15% Teaching, 85% Research
My research is devoted to understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate early mammalian embryogenesis, and how disruptions in early developmental events can lead to disease later in life. In seeking to understand the early embryo, my research also incorporates the biology of gametes and gametogenesis, particularly the oocyte and oogenesis. This leads into studies of interactions between the oocyte and follicle cells. Additionally, the mechanisms that establish early cell lineages are examined. For over 20 years my laboratory has developed and applied methods for detailed molecular studies of oocytes, embryos, and stem cells. My research encompasses genetics, epigenetics, cell biology, cell physiology, and gene network analysis, providing for a comprehensive approach. This includes heavy use of genome, epigenome, bioinformatic and transcriptome analysis technologies. These genetic, genomic and molecular studies are coupled to microsurgical methods, such as nuclear transfer, cloning, cytoplasm transfer, microinjection, and sperm injection. This powerful combination of methods enables in-depth study of the controlling mechanisms operating inside mammalian oocytes and embryos, despite their limited availability, cost, and small size. I also established the NIH-funded (R24) Primate Embryo Gene Expression Resource (PREGER). In developing this resource, I have had the opportunity to acquire a large amount of original transcriptome data for rhesus monkey oocytes, embryos, and stem cells. In the process, my lab has contributed a large amount of novel data to the field of primate embryology. Our discoveries highlight the importance of nonhuman primates as research models, as we have documented many profound differences as compared to rodent models. Other studies take advantage of mouse genetic models to identify novel molecular pathways controlling oogenesis and embryogenesis, and to study environmental effects on these processes. Future plans include the incorporation of other model organisms and the broader study of the effects of environmental toxins on reproduction.