Preservation and regeneration of male fertility by germline stem cells

Research area

 |  Male fertility


 |  Stem cells, fertility, regeneration


 |  PhD/Doctorate, Honours, Masters

Project description

Maintenance of fertility in men is dependent on a population of germline stem cells (known as spermatogonial stem cells or SSCs) within the testis that continually produce maturing germ cells for production of sperm. Male infertility is surprisingly common and disrupted formation or function of SSCs is potentially involved in a large number of these cases. Importantly, germline cells are highly sensitive to many cancer therapies including chemotherapeutic drugs and cancer patients can be at a high risk of permanent infertility. Therapy-resistant SSCs can restore sperm production in individuals but cellular pathways mediating the regenerative response of SSCs following testis damage remain poorly understood. This project aims to study and dissect cellular pathways and mechanisms regulating the SSC regenerative response using mouse models of chemotherapy-induced infertility. The project will involve SSC culture, molecular biology, biochemistry and genomics techniques. Development of therapies capable of promoting SSC regenerative capabilities may ultimately help in the reversal of infertility caused by cancer treatment.