Meet the Lab
Dori Woods, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
Department of Biology
College of Science
Department of Bioengineering
College of Engineering
Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2007
B.S., University of Arizona, 2001
Dr. Taichi Akahori
The purpose of my research is to generate an in vitro autologous reconstituted ovary and regulate oogenesis. Oogonial stem cells exist in the ovary, surrounded by supporting somatic cells. Collecting these cells autologously from patients' ovarian tissue is important for clinical application. This tissue engineering technique will help the development of infertility treatments. Furthermore, it provides a new experimental system for basic research of ovarian malignancy. A novel strategy for treatment of gynecologic cancer is highly desired. My background is in gynecological oncology in Japan.
Alisha Truman, PhD Candidate
I am currently developing a strategy for the in vitro-derivation of granulosa cells- the ovarian somatic support cells that are required for proper hormone regulation throughout a female's reproductive lifespan- from hESCs and iPSCs. By studying ovarian organogenesis we are gaining new insights into how these cells specify in vivo and applying this knowledge into directed stem cell differentiation. Additionally, I have been working in collaboration with Dr. Slava Epstein to develop a screening procedure to determine the effects of bacterial metabolites on stem cell differentiation capability.
Christine Faraci, Graduate Student
My work focuses on characterization of oocyte and fertility failure in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) defective mouse model, the POLG mutator mouse. POLG mutator mice have a genetic impairment in mtDNA proofreading capability and show accelerated aging and early reproductive failure. By characterizing how this reproductive failure occurs, I can test specific interventions for their effect on reproductive lifespan and identify targets that may prove benecial to humans.
Julie MacDonald (honorary member), PhD Candidate
My research project is on the influence of the physical environment on cellular function and differentiation. Utilizing emerging technologies in bioengineering and mechanobiology allows for new insights into the role played by extracellular matrix proteins, as both components of cell signaling pathways as well as transducers of mechanical strain to better understand the adult oogonial stem cell population, and how its dynamics may change with age.
Undergraduates and Visiting Students
We have a lively and constant stream of undergraduate students coming through the lab either as volunteers, work study students, independent studies, and NSF-sponsored REU participants.
Current Undergraduate Lab Members:
- Tanner Eggert (Directed Study)
- Christina Yung (Volunteer)
- Joyce Jin (Volunteer)
- Menaka Sanghvi (Directed study)
- Carleigh Sussman (Volunteer)
- Shandy Maccow (Volunteer)
Past Students and Graduating Seniors:
- Irena Kuzma (Volunteer and directed study)
- Dominick Pezzulo (Volunteer)
- Monika Izdebski (Co-op, Fall 2015)
- Katharina Winkel (2015-2016 Master's student, Hannover, Germany exchange)
- Conner Shaughnessy (Volunteer and directed study)
- Leah Simmons (Co-op, Fall 2015)
- Alyssa Kania (Directed study)
- Shalin Shetty (Directed study)
- Leannah Newman (Volunteer)
- Anna Denicol, DVM, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor at University of California, Davis
Deanna Navaroli, Ph.D.
Kshama Chandrasekhar, Ph.D.