We study how spermatogonial stem cells differentiate to form sperm. We are particularly interested in how the post-transcriptional control of mRNA facilitates two distinct stages of development:
Spermatogonial stem cell differentiation into mitotically dividing progenitors
Progenitors’ initiation of meiosis, the specialized cell division that halves the genome to produce gametes
The testis is a complex tissue with all stages of sperm development present at the same time. To overcome this developmental complexity, we use two complementary approaches: single-cell sequencing and a specialized approach that developmentally synchronizes spermatogenesis. By combining these approaches with genetics, biochemistry, functional genomics and bioinformatics, we are able to make powerful insights into the development of sperm.
Over the long term, the insights made from these fundamental studies will be used to improve technologies to produce sperm and egg in a dish. The application of this technology in regenerative medicine has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of infertility.