|Title||Associate Professor, Primary Appointment in Pediatrics-Endocrinology|
Our work centers on understanding the development and functional regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis which controls reproduction. We have had a long standing interest in the regulation of GnRH gene expression and in addition to performing standard in vitro analysis; we have developed a variety of transgenic and knock out mouse models that have revealed both cis- and trans-regulatory elements underlying the cell-specific expression of GnRH.
Our laboratory is also interested in understanding how metabolic status impacts reproductive function. It has long been known that states of negative energy balance are associated with infertility. These can include anorexia nervosa and can play an important component in functional hypothalamic amenorrhea. What has become clear in recent years is that states of positive energy balance, such as obesity and type II diabetes, are also associated with reproductive dysfunction. We have developed a mouse model of obesity induced infertility. Used in conjunction with mouse models of tissue-specific gene deletion, we are able to probe the role of various molecular signals mediating the effects of obesity on reproductive function.