Biomedical Sciences

Reproductive Genomics

Biomedical Sciences has a long history of excellence in reproductive biology research, focusing on all areas of the reproductive axis across mammalian species. Department faculty were instrumental in establishing The Center for Reproductive Genomics in 2006, a collaborative effort that involved members of this department together with Faculty from the Weill Cornell Medical College and the College of Arts and Sciences. As part of this center, Paula Cohen, John Schimentiand Mark Roberson are all interested in the role of non-coding RNAs in various aspects of reproductive biology from germ cell development to placental function. The Cohen lab focuses primarily on DNA repair mechanisms and non-coding RNAs in germ cell development. The Roberson lab studies mechanisms of intracellular signaling that are essential for the normal functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis as well as for placental function. The Schimenti lab have harnessed the power of CRISPR/Cas9 technology to generate SNP mutations that mimic human infertility alleles. The Travis lab studies sperm functionality and attempts to develop strategies for improving assisted reproduction for endangered species. His lab recently announced the first litter of puppies born by in vitro fertilization. The Weiss lab is focused on mechanisms of genome stability in the mammalian germline, and on understanding how germ cell-derived tumors differ from somatic cell tumors. The Nikitin lab has made seminal contributions on the role of cancer propagating cells in ovarian cancer and how these cohorts of stem cell contribute to epithelial tumors in the ovary. The Coonrod lab is interested in epigenetic changes regulating the breast/mammary gland and the role of estrogen receptors in the progression of breast cancer. Vicky Meyers-Wallen and her colleagues focus on fundamental determinants of sex determination with particular emphasis on sex reversal diseases in the canine.