SSR 2024 Rising Stars #4

Speaker: Dr. Amanda Patterson, University of Missouri School of Medicine

Title: Towards understanding mesenchymal-epithelial transition in endometrial epithelial regeneration.

Description: Mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) is critical for fetal tissue and organ development and is exploited by pathologies such as cancer and fibrosis. The uterus uses this mechanism in adults under non-pathological conditions to regenerate the endometrial epithelium following parturition and in menstruation-like conditions in mice. During this webinar, I will discuss the advances made in understanding MET in normal physiological regeneration events to gain insight into its role in pathologies when dysregulated.

Speaker: Dr. Xiaoqiu (Churchill) Wang, North Carolina State University

Title: Decoding molecular mechanisms controlling uterine aging.

Description: Advanced maternal age (i.e., ≥35 years old) is associated with an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes such as infertility, preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, congenital heart disease and other fetal abnormalities. Much attention has been focused on ovarian function and oocyte quality (“the Seed”); but we provide evidence that defects in uterine decidualization (a process of uterine stroma cell proliferation and differentiation to accommodate implanting embryo; “the Soil”) could be a major cause of age-related reproductive decline in mice, which, in turn, interferes with the establishment of a functional feto-maternal exchange unit. In this talk, I will discuss our recent efforts on elucidating the mechanisms underlying reproductive aging in the uterus, particularly the convergence of the Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) signaling pathway and the hormonal endometrial response during endometrial decidualization.

SSR 2024 Rising Stars #3

Speaker: Dr. Haiqi Chen, UT Southwestern Medical Center, USA

Title: Spatially resolved, functional dissection of the spermatogonial stem cell niche

Description: Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) in the testis support the lifelong production of sperm. SSCs reside within specialized microenvironments called ‘‘niches,’’ which are essential for SSC self-renewal and differentiation. In this talk, I will discuss our recent efforts to combine spatial transcriptomics, computational analyses, and functional assays to systematically dissect the molecular, cellular, and spatial composition of SSC niches.

Speaker: Dr. Fei Zhao, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Title: Cell fate decisions in sex duct development

Description: Alfred Jost’s work in the 1940s laid the foundation of the current paradigm of sexual differentiation of reproductive tracts. Using genetic animal models, ex vivo experiments, and single cell sequencing based technologies, we have gained significant insights into this process, challenging existing dogmas. The yielded knowledge will enable us to not only decipher the fundamental process of dimorphic establishment of reproductive tracts, but also provide insights into how defects and diseases originate from impaired fetal development.

SSR 2024 Rising Stars #2

Speaker: Dr. Britt Goods, Dartmouth College, USA

Title: Using single-cell transcriptomics to understand ovulation and drive contraceptive discovery

Description: Single-cell methods have revolutionized our ability to understand complex processes. My research leverages these methods, including single-cell RNA-sequencing, to better understand ovulation and inform drug discovery. Here, I will discuss some recent work we have performed to understand factors that drive ovulation over time with spatial transcriptomics datasets and how we have used this, plus data integration methods, to nominate novel drug targets.

Speaker: Dr. Azusa Inoue, RIKEN, Yokohama, Japan

Title: Genomic imprinting mediated by maternal histone modifications

SSR 2024 Rising Stars #1

Speaker: Dr. Katy Patras, Baylor College of Medicine, USA

Title: Gestational diabetes disrupts maternal immunity and the vaginal microbiota to promote bacterial infection.

Description: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a pervasive perinatal pathogen, and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) increases the risk of GBS perinatal disease although the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Using a novel murine GDM model of GBS colonization, we found that GDM mice had greater GBS dissemination and worse neonatal outcomes. GDM altered host responses, including reduced uterine natural killer cell activation and recruitment, and distinct vaginal microbial taxa were associated with GDM status and GBS invasive disease status. Our translational model of GBS perinatal transmission in GDM hosts recapitulates several clinical aspects and enables discovery of host and bacterial drivers of GBS perinatal disease.

Speaker: Dr. Daniel Mathew, University of Tennessee, USA

Title: The In Vitro Produced Conceptus: What the Endometrium Can Tell Us

Description: The early conceptus creates a microenvironment with the surrounding endometrium, supporting pre-implantation development. During this webinar I’ll discuss how the in vitro produced cow conceptus impacts the endometrial transcriptome and surrounding proteome compared to the in vivo derived conceptus and how that may influence establishment of pregnancy.

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