Origins and Biological Consequences of Human Infertility

Investigator: Linda Giudice, MD, PhD, MSc
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Location(s): United States


Our investigators focus on the developmental continuum from oocyte competence to embryo and placental development to implantation and promote a shared vision of excellence and innovation in reproductive research, advanced technologies, informatics data analyses, mentoring, and community engagement. We combine powerful experimental techniques, system approaches and computational analyses to address critical questions at the intersection of stem cell biology, epigenomics, and clinical reproductive medicine. To accomplish these goals, we have proposed four highly interactive projects by established investigators and one pilot project with a new investigator, which are supported by three cores. Project I (Marco Conti) focuses on mechanisms controlling oocyte developmental competence and early embryo development; Project II (Susan Fisher) will investigate a molecular analysis of the early stages of trophoblast differentiation; Project III (Robert Blelloch) focuses on post-transcriptional regulation of trophoblast differentiation; Projec IV (Linda Giudice) will investigate development of human endometrium for embryonic implantation; and the Pilot Project (NamTran) proposes to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of endometriosis, a common disorder in women associated with infertility and poor pregnancy outcomes These projects are supported by Core A for administration (Linda Giudice), Core B for computational biology research (Jun Song), and Core C for education and community outreach (Synthia Mellon). Our long-term goals are to understand mechanisms underlying normal and abnormal early development fundamentally and for developing novel strategies to diagnose, prevent and treat infertility; optimize fertility and pregnancy outcomes and minimize adverse outcomes; educate aspiring students, the public, health care professionals and patients about human development and disorders associated with abnormal development; and inspire career choice and nurture career development in this important area of reproductive health and research These goals are consistent with the mission of the NICHD. There is compelling evidence that many causes of human infertility and poor pregnancy outcomes can be traced to abnormalities in early gamete maturation, fertilization, embryogenesis, placentation, and implantation. These effects on reproductive health also affect quality of life across the life span. Thus, the origins and biologial consequences of abnormalities in early development, the central theme of our proposal, are highly relevant to the public health.