Oocyte development, function and selection
oocyte development, function and selection
Premature ovarian failure (POF)
POF affects 1% of women under 40 and is either due to a lack of ovarian follicles (afollicular POF) or the ovary still contains follicles but they are not functional (follicular POF). We are investigating the mechanisms that initiate the onset of follicular POF and what changes a functional ovary into a dysfunctional one. We are investigating this using a mouse model of POF. This transgenic model has oocyte-specific gene deletion resulting in oocytes lacking complex N and O-glycans. This model is initially fertile but then undergoes POF and since the gene modification is oocyte-specific, POF is initiated by the oocyte. Using this model we can investigate the role of the oocyte on ovarian function and using the chimeric ovary technique, we are able to investigate the cause of this distressing condition.
Regulation of Fertility
For every egg that is ovulated, many others were not selected for ovulation and die. We have been investigating follicle development and follicle selection for many years, and we have revealed that the oocyte has an important role in these processes using a mouse model with oocyte-initiated increased fertility.
Since many individuals are now choosing to have children later in life, we are also investigating the effect of ageing on ovarian function and egg quality.