Approximately 50-80 million reproductive age couples worldwide suffer from infertility. These couples encounter psychological distress, including low self-esteem, isolation, and depression; emphasizing the need for a better understanding the causes of infertility. At Winuthayanon Lab, we focus on studying how ovarian steroid hormones (estrogen and progesterone) affect fertility during sperm migration, fertilization, embryo development, and embryo transport within the female reproductive tract. There are multiple components of the cells in female reproductive tract that work in concert to provide optimal microenvironment for gametes (eggs and sperm) and the embryos to establish successful pregnancy. In our lab, we use genetic engineered mouse models to dissect the molecular mechanisms and functional requirement of estrogen and progesterone signals through their classical nuclear receptors (estrogen receptor; ESR1 and progesterone receptor; PGR) during pregnancy. Our research aims to provide fundamental knowledge in reproductive biology during early pregnancy as well as potential targets for contraceptive agents and therapeutic approaches for infertility.
For a mammal’s sperm to succeed, it must complete the swim of its life to reach and fertilize an egg. That’s easier if it swims through water, not goo!!!
Story By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer