Novel Genes Involved in Follicle Autonomous Activation and Ovulation

Project: Research project

Project Details


The majority of female contraceptives on the market today prevent pregnancy through two main approaches., physical and hormonal. The physical approach, which includes barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms, as well as tubal ligation, prevent pregnancy by providing a physical barrier to fertilization of an egg by sperm. The second approach utilizes pills, rings, implants, or intrauterine devices to modulate the specific hormones that induce ovulation in order to prevent the release of the oocyte from the ovarian follicle and/or to make the uterine lining unsuitable for implantation. While these two strategies can be highly effective, there are also significant disadvantages to both. Barrier methods require the user to be error-free and the availability or cost of the devices can be prohibitive. Hormonal contraceptives, which target ovulation, are widely available in the developed world; however, lack of education, time and distance to clinics, and supply amounts can make obtaining contraceptives difficult in the developing world. Moreover, hormonal contraceptives can have side effects or be inappropriate for certain women, such as those with a history of estrogen-responsive cancers or those with clotting disorders. This proposal aims to discover new contraceptive agents by targeting two specific developmental processes in the ovary that occur before ovulation. The process of egg development, called folliculogenesis, begins with the selection and activation of a primordial follicle, which grows until it develops into an antral follicle, containing a mature oocyte that is ready for ovulation. Our work aims to target the beginning (selection of the primordial follicle) and the end of the process (right before ovulation occurs). Folliculogenesis is a complex process, however, we believe that by studying the transcriptomics of both the ends of the folliculogenesis spectrum we can identify new gene pathways relevant to of non-hormonal birth control.
Effective start/end date11/27/1810/31/21


  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1200269)


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