|Dr. Mary Ann Handel is the Chair of our External Advisory committee. A renowned scientist in the field of mammalian germ cell development and meiosis, Mary Ann has been an exceptionally well funded and prolific scientist for several decades. In addition to many editorial positions, Mary Ann has served as Editor-in-chief for the Biology of Reproduction, the premier reproduction and fertility journal. She is based at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, where she has led several similar large research endeavors similar to our U54 center.|
|Dr. Dolores Lamb has long been one of the leaders in the field of urological and infertility research and, among her many titles, is Director of the Laboratory for Male Reproductive Research and Testing at Baylor College of Medicine. She has led and participated in many large center-group style research endeavors and her integration of basic and clinical research is really second-to-none. Her inclusion in the group will solidify the translational base of our research and her insight into the trials and tribulations of clinical research will be invaluable.|
|Barbara Collura is the President and CEO of Resolve, The National Infertility Association. She has served on several advisory committees for NICHD, and is well versed with the activities of SCCPIR/NCTRI. She has served in a multitude of advisory roles, both relating to infertility treatment and research therof, so she is an excellent addition to our external advisory committee. In addition to her advice about our research directions, her insight will be invaluable on how to improve the Outreach component of our Center.|
|Dr. Andrea Ventura is an Assistant Member of the department of Cell Biology and Genetics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He did his postdoctoral training with Tyler Jacks at MIT before moving to MSKCC. His lab studies microRNAs in cancer, and he has been hugely successful in establishing key associations between specific microRNAs and a variety of human diseases beyond cancer. He brings a wealth of small RNA expertise to our Center.|
A new study from Andrew Grimson's lab, in collaboration with Paula Cohen's lab, has identified a key pathway required for maintenance of sex chromosome telomere integrity. Using conditional knockout mice for Dicer and Dgcr8, two key enzymes required for small RNA processing, Modzelewski et al (2015) show that loss of small RNAs during prophase I leads to telomere fusion events specifically involving the X and Y chromosomes. For further information, see the May edition of Journal of Cell Science
A recent publication by Dabaja et al (2015) has identified key cell:cell interactions that are necessary to establish normal profiles of one key microRNA, miR202-5p, in Sertoli cells. This is the first example of a germ cell regulatory interaction that is necessary for miR expression in neighboring somatic cells of the testis
The lab of Center member John Schimenti recently identified the DNA damage checkpoint pathway responsible for culling oocytes that fail to repair double stranded breaks (DSBs) that occur during meiosis or which arise in a female's oocyte pool (Bolcun-Filas et al, Science 343:533-536, 2014). Using combinations of mutants involved in recombination and DNA damage responses, they found that this pathway involves signaling of checkpoint kinase 2 (CHK2) to both p53 and p63. Disruption of this checkpoint pathway restored fertility to females that normally would be deficient of all oocytes due to defects in meiotic recombination or exposure to radiation. This discovery opens the way to using available CHK2 inhibitors to protect the oocytes of women undergoing cancer therapy that would normally cause infertility.