Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Texas A&M University
College Station Texas 77843
Gamete and embryo physiology, epigenetics, assisted reproductive technologies, genetic engineering of livestock and companion animals, biomedical models of human disease, disease resistant livestock
VTPP 659: Gamete and Embryo Physiology
VTPP 653: Endocrinology
VTPP 452/652 Fetal & Embryo Physiology
I have conducted research on the physiology of gametes and early embryos for over 25 years in both private industry and government laboratories. These studied have varied from nuclear reprogramming in cloned embryos, in vitro fertilization systems using sex sorted sperm, embryo cryobiology, cytoskeletal and nuclear abnormalities of in vitro produced livestock embryos as well as microtubule nucleating components of sperm during zygotic development.
My more recent research interests have focused on the role of histone and DNA methyltransferase genes in the control of epigenetic reprogramming during early bovine embryonic development. We are specifically interested in the exogenous stress that in vitro culture of embryos places on the epigenome and how these stresses manifest in altered or failed fetal development.
My laboratory also investigates novel transgenic approaches to enhance production and disease resistance traits in livestock and companion animals. For example, Dr. Mark Westhusin and I have ongoing collaborations to produce biologically active proteins in the milk of transgenic animals. Currently we maintain goats that produce antigens in their milk that can be purified and delivered as vaccines. We have ongoing projects utilizing RNA interference and gene editing technologies to enhance production or fight a number of economically important livestock and human diseases. Furthermore, we utilize these same genetic engineering strategies to produce biomedical models of human disease. Current projects are focused on development of inducible, tissue specific expression of transgenes to produce a model of human obesity and metabolic syndrome in swine.
Many of the projects are accomplished in collaboration with Drs. Golding, Westhusin and Kraemer of the Reproductive Sciences Laboratory. This is dynamic group that offers a unique and stimulating environment for conducting research. In addition we maintain active collaborations with a number of other laboratories in academia, government and private industry.