"The overall objective of our laboratory is to understand the neuroendocrine control of reproduction with an emphasis on the anterior pituitary gland which produces the gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)."
A long-standing project focuses on molecular mechanisms which mediate basal and hormonal regulation of the LHβ-subunit gene. We are currently studying the role of the stimulatory transcription factors, liver receptor homologue‑1 (LRH‑1) and GATA, as well as the inhibitor COUP-TF, on gonadotropin gene expression
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland secrete a small protein known as pituitary adenylate-cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP). PACAP increases secretion of a wide array of pituitary hormones, including LH and FSH.
We have begun to identify and characterize factors which regulate expression of the PACAP gene, concentrating on hormones with known importance to reproduction, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), gonadal steroids, and PACAP itself.
The cessation of female reproductive function (menopause) is believed to be due primarily to the depletion of ovarian follicles with aging.
However, emerging data suggest that significant alterations also occur "centrally" within the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. A third project in the laboratory is using a rodent model system to define the role of these tissues in reproductive loss.