university of pittsburgh
center for research in reproductive physiology
university of pittsburgh school of medicine

Faculty and Research Interests

Elizabeth A. McGee, M.D.
M.D. University of Tennessee

Dr McGee's research is in ovarian physiology and she has two main foci of
her current studies. The first is the study of the TGFb family of growth
factors and their regulation of early ovarian follicle development. Dr
McGee has developed a serum-free follicle culture system in which small
follicles can be grown for many days. Using this system she has determined
that TGFb and activin have different effects on early follicle development.
Current work in her lab focuses on the role of the downstream signaling
molecules of the TGFb family and how they may function to regulate ovarian
follicle development. A key feature of these studies involves a transgenic
mouse that is deficient in the TGFb signaling molecule Smad3. These mice are
infertile and have abnormal follicle growth. This provides a very useful
model for the investigation of TGFb family signaling in ovarian function.The second focus of Dr. McGee's work is the development of a system of
follicle culture that can support follicle development from the primordial
stage up to oocyte maturity. A system of in vitro folliculogenesis will be
useful as tool for further study of follicle regulation but also as a
potential treatment of infertility of women and girls who must undergo
ovarian damaging chemotherapy or radiation. There is no current system to
support the in vitro maturation of human or primate follicles from frozen
tissue. She has had some success in the development of the serum-free
system for the growth of rat follicles, but this system does not allow for
reliable growth past the antral transition of follicle development. Current
work focuses on optimizing conditions necessary for prolonged follicle
development in vitro.

Representative Publications

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