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Biomedical Sciences
Dr. Alex Travis
Program in Physiology

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Phone: 607 256 5613
E-mail: ajt32@cornell.edu
Research Interests

My laboratory investigates the fascinating biology of male germ cells. For life to be transmitted from one generation to the next, these cells must undergo a complex process of differentiation within the male, and then mature functionally within the female reproductive tract during the process of "capacitation." Yet despite their importance, we know remarkably little about many aspects of male germ cell biology at the cell/molecular level. Broad questions of cell biology are investigated using developing male germ cells and sperm as a model. For example, how do specific pathways become compartmentalized to restricted areas within such a highly-polarized cell? How are signaling and metabolic pathways inter-related so that these polarized cells may function as a whole? How are the molecular stimuli for capacitation transduced into the functional changes that enable them to fertilize an egg?

For more information, visit my Laboratory of Reproductive Biology web site.

Select Publications

  1. Travis, A.J., and Kopf, G.S., "The spermatozoon as machine: Compartmentalized metabolic and signaling pathways bridge cellular structure and function," in Assisted Reproductive Technology, DeJonge, C., and Barratt, C.L.R., eds., Cambridge University Press, Inc. 2002, p. 26-39.
  2. Travis, A.J., and Kopf, G.S., (2002). The Role of Cholesterol Efflux in Regulating the Fertilization Potential of Mammalian Spermatozoa. The Journal of Clinical Investigation 110:731-736.
  3. Travis, A.J., Merdiushev, T., Vargas, L.A., Jones, B.H., Purdon, M.A., Nipper, R.W., Galatioto, J., Moss, S.B., Hunnicutt, G.R., and Kopf, G.S. (2001) Expression and localization of caveolin-1, and the presence of membrane rafts, in murine and guinea pig spermatozoa. Developmental Biology 240:599-610.
  4. Travis, A.J., Jorgez, C.J., Merdiushev, T., Jones, B.H., Dess, D.M., Diaz-Cueto, L., Storey, B.T., Kopf, G.S., and Moss, S.B. (2001) Functional relationships between capacitation-dependent cell signaling and compartmentalized metabolic pathways in murine spermatozoa. Journal of Biological Chemistry 276:7630-7636.
  5. Travis, A.J., Sui, D., Riedel, K.D., Hofmann, N.R., Moss, S.B., Wilson, J.E., and Kopf, G.S. (1999) A novel NH2-terminal, non-hydrophobic motif targets a male germ cell-specific hexokinase to the endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane. Journal of Biological Chemistry 274:34467-34475.
  6. Travis, A.J., Foster, J.A., Rosenbaum, N.A., Visconti, P.E., Gerton, G.L., Kopf, G.S., and Moss, S.B. (1998). Targeting of a germ cell-specific type 1 hexokinase lacking a porin-binding domain to the mitochondria as well as to the head and fibrous sheath of murine spermatozoa. Molecular Biology of the Cell 9:263-276.
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