Our studies focus on the molecular composition and organization of the mammalian oocyte with particular emphasis on the etiology of failed fertilizations in women. Fertilization failure owing to the inability of a sperm to ‘dock’ to the oocyte plasma membrane (oolemma) was a new finding in the field of assisted reproductive medicine (Van Blerkom and Caltrider, 2013) and subsequently recognized as a surprisingly common occurrence after IVF. We have shown that docking dysfunction is associated with large regions of the oolemma depleted of the ganglioside GM1 that resides in lipid rafts. Current findings show that this fertilization dysfunction is chromosome-induced when located beneath the oolemma, which we suggest causes a focal disruption of ionic homeostasis that reduces ambient ATP levels that negatively affects there functor of the lipid raft regulating protein annexin 2 and consequently reduces GM1 density below the threshold required for sperm docking.
basic and clinical embryology, infertility, early mammalian development
MCDB 3350 - Fertility, Sterility, and Early Mammalian Development
Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Spring 2020
Describes the production of germ cells, ovulation, fertilization, reproductive cycles, controls of reproduction, early development of the embryo, methods of contraception, and causes and treatments of sterility. Recommended for students planning careers in the health sciences. Recommended prerequisite: MCDB 1150 or EBIO 1210 (minimum grade C-).
MCDB 4990 - Honors Thesis
Involves the preparation and defense of an honors thesis, based on faculty-supervised original research, including final phases of the research project. Recommended prerequisites: MCDB 4840 or MCDB 4980 or comparable research experience, and minimum GPA of 3.3 and approval by the MCDB Honors Committee.