Fetal Programming and Environmental Exposures
S.K. Dey, PhD, Jeff Whitsett, PhD, and Susan Fisher, PhD, University of California San Francisco, organized “Fetal Programming and Environmental Exposures: Implications for Prenatal Care and Pre-Term Birth, ” a meeting jointly sponsored by the New York Academy of Science and Cincinnati Children’s. Held in New York City, the meeting drew 140 researchers and clinicians to discuss factors affecting prenatal development and how to better deal with those factors.
Funding and Research
All five of our division’s full-time faculty members are funded by at least one external grant, and three of the five have more than one external grant. Three out of five are also funded by one internal grant. Overall, the division is supported by five NIH, five private, and two internal grants.
Although preterm birth and prematurity are worldwide problems, the underlying mechanisms are still unknown. Uterine decidual senescence via the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling is a novel approach to understanding the cause of preterm birth. We found that decidual senescence could be reversed by administering either a very low dose of rapamycin (an inhibitor of mTORC1 signaling) or Celebrex, a COX-2 inhibitor (an anti-inflammatory). This work was highlighted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Cell Signaling, Biology of Reproduction, and Cell Cycle.
Report on our Adjunct Professors Abroad
The Division of Reproductive Sciences has two adjunct professors stationed at universities abroad. Yasushi Hirota, MD, PhD, is based at the National Institute of Genetics of Japan in Shizuoka, Japan. He published two papers in FY12, along with members of Dey's lab, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA and Developmental Cell. He also received a research award from the Japan Society of Reproductive Medicine and an outstanding presentation award from the 64th Annual Congress of the Japan Society of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Hirota also received three new grants in FY12: a grants-in-aid for scientific research (KAKENHI) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; a research grant from the Mochida Memorial Foundation for Medical and Pharmaceutical Research; and a research grant from the Kanae Foundation for the Promotion of Medical Science. This year, Hirota was named to the editorial board of the journal Molecular Human Reproduction.
Hyunjung (Jade) Lim, PhD, is based at Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. She published three papers in FY12: two in Molecular Human Reproduction and one in Molecular Biology Reports. She was awarded a center grant on Fertility Preservation Network as principal investigator of Project 4, which will run for five years and look into the development of molecular cell biological markers for oocyte and ovarian tissue cryopreservation.