The development of the egg, and subsequently the fertilized embryo, provides continuity between generations. However, we have an incomplete understanding of:

  1. How does oogenesis promote oocytes to develop into eggs?
  2. How does the egg provision the embryo and prepare it for development?
  3. How do we build and nourish oocytes/eggs from stem cells and culture them ex vivo?

To this end, the Grow lab takes genome-wide, single-cell, and computational approaches to deeply understand epigenome and transcriptome landscapes and how they are reprogrammed. In particular, we focus on the molecular event known as embryonic genome activation (EGA)–the exciting final act in the “egg to embryo” transition that is largely driven by the egg.

Current projects include:

  1. How do eggs facilitate reprogramming during EGA, and how do somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos differ in their epigenetic reprogramming?
  2. How do regulatory sequences such as Transposable Elements drive EGA?
  3. How do we make In vitro folliculogenesis more robust?
  4. How is EGA dysregulated in human assisted reproductive technologies (ART)?

We use a variety of experimental systems such as in vitro follicle culture, stem cells, and preimplantation embryos while leveraging our location in the Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences and affiliation with the Ob/Gyn department.