Phone: (979) 862-2009
The myometrium plays a fundamental role in a variety of female reproductive events and has a significant impact on pregnancy outcome. The structural and functional abnormalities of myometrium can lead to reproductive disorders, such as implantation failure, preterm labor, and uterine rupture, some of which are severe causes of neonatal mortality and morbidity. Despite the long-recognized importance of myometrial function in pregnancy, key signaling pathways that control myometrial development and function are not well defined. Current studies in my laboratory are to identify the role of TGFß signaling and micro-RNA in myometrial contractility and pregnancy, and define the mechanistic contributions of dysregulated TGFß signaling to the development of myometrial defects. Results of these studies will guide the design of novel therapies for myometrial dysfunction and myometrium-associated diseases.
My lab is also interested in understanding the SMAD signaling pathway in ovarian follicular development and ovulation. SMAD proteins can be classified into receptor-regulated SMADs (Smad1, 2, 3, 5, 8), the common SMAD (Smad4), and inhibitory SMADs (Smad6, 7). Our previous studies have identified a key role of SMAD2/3 in the maintenance of female fertility and follicular cell function. Ongoing studies focus on defining the ovarian function of inhibitory Smad (i.e., Smads 6 and 7) signaling and the interrelationship between inhibitory Smad signaling and Smad2/3 and/or Smad1/5/8-mediated signaling in the ovary.
The third area is to define the role of TGFß signaling in ovarian tumorigenesis, we created a series of novel mouse models expressing constitutively active TGFß receptor 1 (TGFBR1) in the ovary using conditional gain-of-function approach. These models develop gonadal tumors that phenocopy a number of morphological, hormonal, and molecular features of human granulosa cell tumors and are potentially valuable for preclinical testing of targeted therapies to treat this class of poorly defined tumors.
Research in my laboratory is supported by funding from the National Institute of Health and Department of Defense. I am the primary instructor for VIBS 617 section 604 (Cell Biology: Gene Regulation in Eukaryotes; 2017 fall semester) and VIBS 609 (Anatomy of Reproductive Systems; 2017 Spring semester).
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