Mary Ann Handel
- BA, Goucher College
- MS, Biology, Johns Hopkins University
- PhD, Biology, Kansas State University
- Postdoctoral Training, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Our laboratory investigates the genetic regulation of spermatogenesis and male fertility with a focus on meiosis, a specialized cell division unique to germ cells that reduces the number of chromosome sets from two (diploid) to one (haploid), producing the gametes, the eggs and sperm that come together during sexual reproduction. We are especially interested in how germ cells form condensed chromosomes as they enter the meiotic division phase, a process that is of crucial importance for the formation of gametes, ensuring the haploid chromosome content of the future gamete, as well as genetic integrity and reproductive success. Our studies are providing significant new information about assembly of mammalian meiotic chromosomes, and ultimately will help us understand how errors in these meiotic mechanisms cause aneuploidy, or inappropriate chromosome number, in offspring. Additionally, we take an unbiased genetic approach to identify new mutations that affect meiotic processes, spermatogenic differentiation, and male fertility. Because spermatogenic "maturation arrest" and fertilization failure, occur in many unexplained cases of human male infertility and reproductive toxicity, this approach can shed light on infertility, and possibly identify potential targets for contraception.