OTHER WEB PAGES
ALIGNED RESEARCH FOCUS
Children’s health and women’s health
ORGAN SYSTEM/DISEASE FOCUS
My research focuses on elucidating the function of GnRH neurons and the mechanism of puberty onset. Because it is very difficult to conduct cellular and molecular studies in humans, some years ago we developed an excellent non-human primate model with a primary cell culture system, in vitro, and a measurement of GnRH release, in vivo. Both approaches are powerful, highly technical and unique in the field of neuroendocrine research. While GnRH cell cultures, derived from the embryonic nasal placode, provide the tool to study the mechanism of GnRH pulse-generation, the rapid actions of steroid hormones, and epigenetic control of GnRH neuronal maturation, the in vivo measurement of GnRH, other neuropeptides and neurotransmitters allows assessment of hypothalamic function under various physiological conditions, including the events across puberty. Currently, we are studying how an accelerated increase in body weight impacts the timing of puberty by analyzing epigenetic control of GnRH neuronal maturation and the epigenetic mechanism of estrogen action in GnRH neurons.