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Sue Hammoud

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Primary Appointment: Human Genetics Department
Primary PIBS Dept.: Human Genetics
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 DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH
  Spermatogenesis is a complex process requiring extensive changes in chromatin and the epigenetic landscape for proper specification and differentiation. Aberrations in this process can lead to infertility, a major health problem worldwide, affecting 1 in every 8 couples. Approximately 50% of the infertility cases lack a clear etiology, and this is attributed, in part, to the poor understanding of the basic signaling, genetic, and epigenetic mechanisms regulating fertility. To find a treatment, one needs to understand the normal developmental process. To achieve this goal the Hammoud laboratory will emphasize on two areas summarized below:
1) In-vitro gametogenesis:
Spermatogenesis requires a complex integration of intrinsic/extrinsic factors to execute the full/normal developmental process. Here, we aim to use high throughput genomics to define intrinsic and extrinsic (niche) factors that maybe important for maintaining spermatogenesis both in-vivo and/or in-vitro. A greater understanding of the normal gametogenesis process will provide a foundation for understanding how changes either in microenvironment or germ cell can lead to male infertility. Reconstitution of gametogenesis in-vitro either from pre-pubertal/adult germ stem cells or through the use of induced pluripotent stem cells will be transform the lives of many infertile couple.

2) Epigenomic Engineering and transgenerational inheritance:
The Cas9/Crispr and Talen technologies have revolutionized the feasibility of genetic/epigenetic engineering. The lab aims to utilize modified genetic engineering strategies to address the role of epimutations on fertility and transgenerational inheritance.