Research in Animal Sciences
Our primary research focus is on the physiology of reproduction in mammals, particularly in relation to improving or regulating fertility. We work mostly on domestic species, although we do occasionally study wild populations, and we relate our findings to human and animal medicine. We study the pituitary-ovarian-uterine axis, including oocyte development, folliculogenesis, ovulation, the formation of the corpus luteum, the maternal recognition of pregnancy and early conceptus development.
The development of the ovarian follicle and the production of a fertile oocyte involve a series of developmental events which culminate at ovulation. These are controlled by hormones of pituitary and local ovarian origin, and by secretions from other organs. The resulting intra-follicular environment has profound effects on follicle maturation, oocyte quality and embryo survival. Oocyte quality has important implications for animal breeding and the production of animal products, but also finds application in the assisted reproduction techniques of human medicine.
The Neurophysiology Research Group is interested in pain and motor control. Pain is a widespread and important problem both in humans and in animals. Understanding the basic physiology of pain systems, and learning how to modify them with drugs or other therapies, is an important goal for biomedical research.