Darryl Russell of the University of Adelaide in Australia will use genomics approaches to identify the molecular pathways that control ovulation for developing more non-hormonal contraceptives with fewer side effects. The classical progestin-based contraceptive pill disrupts natural hormone cycles; requires long-term, regular use; and causes a range of harmful side-effects. An alternative approach is an acute treatment that directly blocks ovulation – the release of the oocyte from the ovary. This research team earlier discovered unique and specialized roles for the progesterone receptor (PGR) in regulating ovulation in a mouse model. They will further characterize these specialized molecular mechanisms upstream and downstream of PGR induction in granulosa cells, which associate with the oocyte, with a focus on chromatin and transcription factors to identify unique drug targets that could be used to develop a contraceptive with fewer side effects.
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