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

Faculty and Research Interests

Kyle E. Orwig
Ph.D. Oregon State University

Research in the Orwig lab focuses on the biological activity and functional genetic characterization of male germline stem cells. Stem cells have become the focus of intense investigation due to their essential role in embryonic and adult tissue development and their capacity to regenerate unhealthy or damaged tissues. Male germline stem cells lie at the foundation of spermatogenesis, which is one of the most productive self-renewing systems in adult animals (a man produces about 1000 spermatozoa every time his heart beats). In addition, spermatogonial stem cells are unique among adult tissue stem cells because they can pass genes through the germline to subsequent generations. Specific projects in the laboratory are designed to: 1) Identify and evaluate mechanisms controlling stem cell self-renewal, death, and differentiation using a variety of molecular profiling strategies. 2) Examine stem cell activity and niche quality in developing testes using a spermatogonial stem cell transplantation technique as a functional endpoint. 3) Harness the regenerative potential of male germline stem cells to restore fertility. Our studies in experimental model systems are beginning to reveal important paradigms that will be instructive for translating stem cell transplantation methods to the fertility clinic. 4) Produce transgenic rats by genetic modification and transplantation of male germline stem cells. Whole animal or germ cell transgenic models will provide valuable tools for examining the functional role of candidate genes in germline development.

Orwig Laboratory Website

Representative Publications

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