Disease and dysfunction of reproduction and reproductive organs are of great public health concern. Most reproductive disorders have unknown etiologies and environmental factors are likely contributors. To prevent or lessen the burden of environmentally-associated disease or dysfunction, research directed at understanding the mechanisms underlying key processes and identifying key target molecules is a crucial first step.
To this end the Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology (LRDT) uses basic research to understand important toxicological principles in the context of reproductive and developmental health at a fundamental level. LRDT is also translating information gained from these studies into applied toxicological testing systems and clinical studies and practice.
LRDT is comprised of seven research groups—led by Lab Chief Kenneth Korach, Ph.D.— that study the mechanisms and molecules with key roles in reproduction and development. The purposes of these studies contribute toward:
Understanding the basic processes involved in regulating reproduction and development
Providing the advanced knowledge needed to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and disorders that affect human reproductive health
Identifying the network of signals regulating developmental processes and events leading to the occurrence of developmental defects
Furnishing the basic information necessary to identify targets of environmental agents with detrimental effects on reproduction and development
LRDT has the following research themes:
Identifying and characterizing signaling molecules involved in regulating morphogenetic and differential processes in early embryonic development
Dissecting the cell biology and molecular genetics of male gamete development and function
Defining the effects of androgen receptor modulators on proliferation, differentiation and induction of cell lineages, and characterizing photo-cytotoxic properties of non-steroidal androgens
Characterizing the nature and role of molecular components involved in modulating the estrogen receptor-mediated regulation of gene expression
Analyzing of the biochemical and molecular properties of estrogen receptor activation, and the roles and functions of the estrogen receptors in hormonally responsive tissues
Determining the molecular and cellular mechanisms of nuclear receptor CAR activation, focusing on those xenobiotics that activate the receptor without directly binding and the mechanisms regulating CAR-mediated cell growth and death