Studies are being conducted on the structure and function of molecules important for fertility in reproductive and other tissues. For example, recent studies include the first cryo EM structure of a steroid receptor (estrogen receptor complexed with coregulators), identification of a progesterone receptor phosphorylation site required for optimal fertility in mice, and testing potential endocrine disruptors for their effects on estrogen receptor action.
Investigators study the normal physiology of reproductive organs such as uterus, ovary, male reproductive tissues using in vivo and in vitro model systems as well as clinical sample. Most PIs typically extend these to pathology of these same organs, including those that affect fertility, such as primary ovarian insufficiency and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Genetic and Environmental Factors
These studies include those involved with genetic and environmental factors that affect reproductive function and fetal development, as well as the developmental origin of human adult disease. Studies range from identification of mutations that affect male and female reproductive tract development, fertility, as well as how diseases such endometriosis and diabetes alter fertility, pregnancy, and development.
Contraceptive Development and Drug Discovery
Multiple investigators study male and female contraceptive target design and drug discovery. BCM is home to the Center for Drug Discovery, which includes state of the art screening to perform cell based-phenotypic and target-based biochemical assays. The Center currently has both DNA encoded chemical and small molecule libraries for use in large-scale screens.