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
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