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epigenetics • birth defects • developmental genetics and pharmacology • reproduction • embryogenesis
My research focuses on how the environment, including our diets and the drugs and toxins we are exposed to, interacts with our genes to cause growth disorders and birth defects in children. Two to four percent of children are born with birth defects. In two thirds of these cases, the causes are unknown. Epigenetics, broadly defined as heritable "tags" or modifications to our genes that modulate gene expression, has been shown to play a key role in normal development in addition to genes. Epigenetic information in our genomes can help us adapt to new environments, yet when abnormal, it can contribute to disease. My laboratory uses mouse and clinical studies to determine the role of epigenetics and the environment in causing birth defects associated with the use of assisted reproductive technologies as well as the father's exposure to drugs and chemicals.
Lee MB, Kooistra M, Zhang B, Slow S, Fortier AL, Garrow TA, Lever M, Trasler JM, Baltz JM. Betaine homocysteine methyltransferase is active in the mouse blastocyst and promotes inner cell mass development. J Biol Chem 87(39):33094-33103, 2012. PMID: 22847001.
Chan D, Delbes G, Landry M, Robaire B, Trasler JM. Epigenetic alterations in sperm DNA associated with testicular cancer treatment. Toxicol Sci 125(2):532-543, 2012. PMID: 22076425.
Niles KM, Yeh JR, Chan D, Landry M, Nagano MC, Trasler JM. Haploinsufficiency of the paternal-effect gene Dnmt3L results in transient DNA hypomethylation in progenitor cells of the male germline. Hum Reprod 28(2):519-530, 2013. PMID: 23159436.
Garner JL, Niles KM, McGraw S, Yeh JR, Cushnie DW, Rozen R, Hermo L, Nagano MC, Trasler JM. Stability of DNA methylation patterns in spermatogonia under conditions of MTHFR deficiency and methionine supplementation. Biol Reprod 2013, Nov 27; 89(5):125. doi:10.1095/biolreprod.113.109066. Print 2013 Nov. PMID: 24048573.
McGraw S, Oakes CC, Martel J, deZeeuw P, Cirio MC, Mak W, Plass C, Bartolomei M, Chaillet JR, Trasler JM. Loss of DNMT1o disrupts imprinted X chromosome inactivation and accentuates placental defects in females. PLoS Genet 2013 Nov; 9(11):e1003873.doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003873. Epub2013 Nov 21. PMID: 24278026.