News Releases, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Illinois
3225 Vet. Med. Basic Sciences Bldg.
2001 S. Lincoln Ave.
Urbana, IL 61802
January 23, 2008

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Contact: Chris Beuoy

Humphrey Yao to Receive 2008 New Investigator Award

Humphrey Yao, assistant professor of veterinary biosciences, will receive the 2008 New Investigator Award at the annual meeting for the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) in May 2008. At the meeting he will also make a presentation showcasing his research.

This award recognizes members of the Society for outstanding research completed and published within 10 years after receiving the PhD or other equivalent professional degree. Criteria include originality, conceptual breakthrough, contribution and significance to the field and development of new methodology, technology or clinical procedures.

"His accomplishments as an independent investigator, teacher and mentor of graduate students and as a faculty member have been stellar," remarked one of Yao's nominators. "He has established a very mature research program and has made solid and novel contributions to the field of reproductive biology."

The research focus of Dr. Yao's laboratory is to understand the fundamental process for the formation of sex organs in mammals. His lab uses genetic mouse models and molecular approaches to define the cellular process for gonadal development and establishment of the reproductive organs. Dr. Yao and his group hope that one day they can apply this knowledge to understand the origins of reproductive problems such as reproductive birth defects and infertility in humans.

One of Dr. Yao's recent projects has centered on locating the gene that spurs development of the epididymis, an organ essential for male fertility. In spring of 2007, Yao's research team discovered a mutant mouse embryo that led them to a gene essential for the coiling of epididymis.