The long-term objective of our laboratory research is to elucidate the molecular mechanism of ovulation, the process of egg release from the ovary. The program of ovulation is activated by a surge of pituitary luteinizing hormone that initiates dramatic changes in molecular, biochemical, and physical events in the ovary, eventually expelling eggs from the ovary. Ovulatory failure has been associated with the development of numerous ovarian disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hemorrhagic cyst formation, hormonal imbalance and infertility, all of which are major risk factors for women’s health. My laboratory’s current research is focusing on the following areas: endothelin system in ovulation and luteal function, steroids and prostaglandins in leukocyte trafficking, steroid receptors in PCOS pathogenesis and reproductive aging. We generate transgenic animal models and used them for those projects. Once noble findings are made from the animal studies, molecular mechanisms behind are sought using in vitro experiments. Routinely applied skills/approaches include but not limited to tissue specific gene targeting, microsurgery, organ transplantation, fertility test, histology, immunohistochemistry, hormone assays, DNA microarray, real-time PCR, tissue culture, and bioinformatics. The ultimate research goal of our lab is to help women who suffer from reproductive disorders and to develop safe and effective contraceptive strategies for humans and animals.

Joe C explaining poster


The Endocrine Society selected Joe Cacioppo's abstract for an Outstanding Abstract Award in conjunction with the ENDO2015 symposium in San Diego in early March. This award recognizes high caliber endocrinological research and provides funding to allow travel to the annual conference. Additionally, Joe received a Presidential Poster Presentation Award for the presentation and interpretation of his work at the ENDO2015. His work was critiqued through conversation with three senior scientists and Endo speakers. Joe will also be presenting his work this April as a student speaker at the annual College of Veterinary Medicine College Research Day. Joe is planning to defended his doctoral dissertation on April 2, 2015, and to deposit his thesis thereafter. He plans to continue in the Ko Lab through the summer of 2015 before returning to the veterinary clinical medicine curriculum to complete his DVM degree, which is expected in the spring of 2018.