Wednesday August 17, 2005

Biology Professor in Leading Scientific Journal

A University of Dayton research laboratory may hold the key to someday discovering what causes infertility and certain kinds of cancer.

Research being conducted by UD associate professor of biology Marie-Claude Hofmann is published in the Aug. 18 issue of Nature. Through collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis, Hofmann is studying how adult stem cells of the mouse testis proliferate and differentiate, important factors in understanding sperm formation that affects fertility.

Studying these adult stem cells also is allowing researchers to better understand the mechanisms of testicular cancer.

"Looking at these stem cells and their environment helps us to understand how they grow and why some continue proliferating instead of maturing, which is how they can become cancerous," Hofmann said.

"This research could lead to cures for infertility or testicular cancer and even other malignant tumors."
A $1.4 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is funding Hofmann's research. Hofmann's next step is trying to find other proteins that define the stem cell environment and to further dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying proliferation and maturation of adult stem cells.

Hofmann works with a team of UD student researchers and is developing a course in cancer biology that will be offered for the first time in the second term of the 2005-06 academic year.

For more information, contact Linda Robertson at (937) 229-3257.