Position title: Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Phone: (608) 263-3579
Ph.D. in Medical Physiology, Yokohama City Medical School, Yokohama, Japan
Postgraduate in Physiology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
Postdoctoral in Anatomy, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Since my arrival in the Wisconsin Primate Center, I have been engaged in research with non–human primates for nearly 5 decades. My research focuses on elucidating the mechanism of puberty onset and regulation of GnRH neuronal function. In primates, 2000 GnRH neurons originate from the embryonic olfactory placode and scatter widely in the hypothalamus/preoptic area. They release the decapeptide hormone into the pituitary portal circulation in a pulsatile manner. It is, however, very difficult to conduct cellular and molecular studies in primates. To overcome this barrier, I have established an in vivo microdialysis method and cell culture methods (a primary cell culture system for GnRH neurons derived from the monkey olfactory placode, and the method to generate GnRH neurons from human embryonic as well as induced pluripotent stem cells in vitro). Both of these approaches are powerful, highly technical, and unique to the field of Neuroendocrine research. We have documented that primate GnRH neurons undergo maturational changes with an increase in GnRH mRNA expression accompanied with DNA demethylation of the GnRH gene and an increased release of GnRH peptide. We also have discovered that neuroestradiol, locally synthesized in the hypothalamus, plays a significant role in the regulation of the preovulatory GnRH surge and pulsatility of GnRH release.
Research Key Words:
Reproductive Neuroendocrinology, Hypothalamus, Nueronal Functions, Maturation