TAp63 determines the date of oocytes against DNA damage

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TAp63 determines the fate of oocytes against DNA damage

Speaker: So-Youn Kim, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Cancer survivors look forward to long-term survival and high quality of life after treatment. Although advanced cancer therapies have remarkably improved the life expectancy of cancer survivors, the treatment itself increases the risk of reproductive insufficiency. Because women are born with a finite number of oocytes that cannot be regenerated during a woman’s reproductive life, an exhausting follicular pool accelerates the onset of menopause irrespective of age, resulting in endocrine dysfunction and infertility. This becomes a critical status in prepubertal girls and premenopausal women. Therefore, it is necessary to elucidate a precise mechanism of ovarian follicle death in the ovary following the administration of chemotherapy. In my talk, I would like to present our recent progress about the role of TAp63 as a target molecule of adjuvant therapies to protect the ovarian reserve from different classes of chemotherapy.

So-Youn Kim, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE. Dr. Kim received Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Yonsei University in Korea, then was trained as a reproductive endocrinologist during her postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University under Dr. J. Larry Jameson and Dr. Teresa K. Woodruff’s guidance. Dr. Kim had received numerous awards including the Constance Campbell Memorial Award, the Young Investigator Award from Women in Endocrinology, the New Investigator award at UNMC, etc. Dr. Kim joined the faculty at UNMC in Oct 2018, where her research program on Oncofertility has been funded by NICHD. She has continued to focus on the signaling pathways related to p63 and ABL kinase to protect oocytes against radiotherapy, chemotherapies and immunotherapies which affect endocrine systems and fertility in young cancer patients. She had served the ENDO society as a committee member of Laureate Award Committee and currently serves as a committee member of Membership Committee for the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR). She is now President-elect at Midlands Society Physiological Science (MSPS).

How testis biology shapes gene regulatory evolution

Speaker: Bluma Lesch, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Yale School of Medicine

Germ cells play a unique role in evolution: they are the only cells that contribute their genetic material to subsequent generations, and their normal function is necessary for fertility and fitness. Therefore, selective forces in germ cells can have a disproportionate effect on how gene expression and function changes during evolution. At the same time, germ cell biology enforces unusual genome regulatory requirements, as chromosomes undergo drastic rearrangements at meiosis and, in males, during sperm head packaging. I will discuss how integrating information at the chromatin, transcriptomic, and proteomic levels has helped us understand how changes in germ cell specific regulatory mechanisms in spermatogenesis impact evolution of gene expression in mammals.

Bluma Lesch, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Genetics and of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale University. During her PhD studies at Rockefeller University, she identified new factors contributing to transcriptional control of cell fate maintenance. As a postdoc at the Whitehead Institute, she defined the evolutionary dynamics of the bivalent chromatin state in mammalian male germ cells. Her lab now focuses on understanding the unique regulatory biology of mammalian spermatogenesis and applying it to learn about the interactions between fertility, epigenetic regulation, development, and evolution. She is the recipient of several awards including the Searle Scholar award in 2019 and Pew Biomedical Scholar award in 2021.

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