From teasing out the details of disease mechanisms to understanding enzyme kinetics to determining the habitat needs of sensitive species, we live, learn and love everything biology-related!
"Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout His praise! Let the fields and their crops burst forth with joy! Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise before the Lord!"—Psalm 96:11-13 (New Living Translation)
Understanding uterine physiology from breeding to implantation to pregnancy can lead to many agricultural and medical advances and breakthroughs. Problems such as small litter sizes, infertility in humans and livestock, birth control, gestational diabetes, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), can be better addressed by concerted investigation of hormonal and physiological factors that affect the uterus in early pregnancy. Our lab focuses on understanding and determining the optimal uterine conditions for embryo implantation, using the American mink (Neovison vison) as a biological model. We explore and investigate the different hormones that act on the uterus, the synthesis and mobilization of glycogen during early pregnancy and the underlying physiological mechanisms that facilitate reproductive success. We explore the role of hormones such as insulin (a traditionally non-reproductive hormone), IGFI, IGFII etc, their interactions with sex hormones, possible effects on the mink uterus, and role in glycogen metabolism.
To better understand the effects of these hormones on the uterus, our lab utilizes immortalized mink uterine epithelial cells (GMMe) to investigate the effects of ovarian hormones on insulin receptor expression. There is evidence that most of the glycogen in the uterus is accumulated in the luminal and glandular epithelial cells of the mink uterus (Rose et al., 2011; Dean et al., 2014). Thus, the use of immortalized cells allows us to further investigate how glycogen is stored and mobilized in the uterine epithelium. We use techniques such as Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (QPCR) and glycogen assays to investigate how these hormones interact and affect receptor expression in GMMe cells. We also examine the effect of these hormones on glycogenic and glycogenolytic enzymes during the reproductive cycle.
Minimum classes: General Biology 1 and 2; Recommended – Cell Biology or Genetics
Dr. Jennifer Chase, Ph.D., MSc