"Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought." -Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Hormonal Regulation of Receptivity and Implantation
The uterine tube folds randomly in the absence of pregnancy but folds acquire a stereotypic pattern close to embryo attachment. Uterine folds also give rise to the implantation chamber that homes the embryos during attachment. We are using genetic mouse mutants, gene expression analysis and 3D imaging to understand how hormones guide the formation of uterine folds how these pre-implantation folds affect the fate of the embryo post-implantation. (Arora et. al, Development, 2016 and Madhavan et. al, Development, 2022)
Uterine Gland Branching Morphogenesis
In a mammalian pregnancy, uterine glands nourish the embryo until the placenta forms. The uterine glands undergo patterning and reorganization at the time of embryo implantation. Using different image analysis platforms we are dissecting the structure of the uterine glands and the changes that accompany implantation. Using spatial localization of the glands with respect to the other cell types, we will determine the functional consequences of these architectural glandular changes.
Quantitative Imaging and Modeling
We are using quantitative approaches to measure changes that occur in the uterine luminal and glandular architecture to prepare for pregnancy. We are also applying these methods to conditions where implantation fails to occur.
Mechanisms that regulate Embryo Movement
Embryos in mice display both unidirectional and bidirectional movement in the uterus before they undergo implantation. Embryo movement in mice is distinct from the unidirectional only movement observed in rats and rabbits. We are investigating muscle contractions and ovarian hormone signaling as potential regulators of embryo movement. (Flores et. al, Development, 2020 and Lufkin et. al Mol Human Reprod 2022)