Female gametes, or oocytes, develop during fetal life and must remain viable for a long period of time to ensure proper reproduction during a female’s lifespan. However, the precise mechanisms regulating fetal oogenesis and development of early stage ovarian follicles (i.e., preantral follicles) remain elusive in most mammalian species. The recent derivation of bovine embryonic stem cells (bESC) presents a unique opportunity to recreate bovine oogenesis in vitro, allowing the study of events that have otherwise been difficult to unravel.

Our research focuses on ovarian biology and regulation of gametogenesis and follicle development during fetal and adult life. We combine the study of bovine embryonic stem cells, preantral follicles isolated or in situ within the ovarian cortex, and embryos to encompass the different stages of oocyte and follicle development and help decipher local, systemic and environmental mechanisms that regulate fertility and development.

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