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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most prevalent reproductive endocrine disorder in women and results in a substantial financial burden to the American healthcare system. PCOS is characterized by an/oligoovulation, polycystic ovaries, and hyperandrogenism. PCOS patients are also at risk for the development of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. My laboratory focuses on the effects of obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance on androgen steroidogenesis and the interrelationship between androgens and insulin signaling in steroidogenic tissues and adipose tissue. An additional focus of my laboratory is the effect of novel fat sources on metabolic and reproductive function in the context of obesity. Using cell culture and rodent and porcine models, my research program examines the direct and indirect effects of obesity and resulting hyperandrogenemia on steroidogenesis and reproductive function in females.
I also have a strong interest in wildlife and zoo animal endocrinology and reproductive physiology. In the past, I have conducted endocrine based research projects on the Pallas' Cat and African Wild Dog. My current research examines the effect of the introduction of novel pheromones versus novel animals on fecal steroid metabolite concentrations, behavior, and estrous cyclicity in captive, female Red River Hogs. I am also working with zoo-based collaborators to develop an eletroejaculation and artificial insemination protocol for Suidae (pig) and Tayassuidae (peccary) species and am engaged in a retrospective characterization of reproductive tract lesions in pigs and peccaries in relation to age, parity and contraceptive use.
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