The long-term goal of my laboratory will be to understand how post-translational modifications, such as SUMOylation (Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier) and ubiquitination, regulate a range of checkpoint pathways in mammalian cells. Our approach will take advantage of skills I have developed in mouse genetics, proteomics, electron microscopy, super-resolution microscopy, and spermatocyte/oocyte culture. This work has the potential to uncover fundamental molecular mechanisms that will provide insights for developing treatments for infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, cancer, immune dysregulation, neural degeneration, and aging-related diseases.
I recently discovered that mutation of a single gene, Rnf212, could dramatically expand the oocyte pools of mice with meiotic defects. This discovery provides a solid foundation for the success of my short-term research goals. The immediate focus of my research is to understand the molecular mechanisms of meiotic checkpoint pathways controlled by RNF212 in mammals.