Michael W. Wolfe, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Education
Research Integrity Officer
Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1990
Postdoctoral, Case Western Reserve University, 1990-1994

Research Focus

Regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis; Differentiation and function of placenta trophoblasts.

Mammalian reproduction is regulated by a number of hormones produced at various locations: hypothalamus in the brain, gonadotropes within the anterior pituitary gland, the gonads and also by the placenta during pregnancy. Luteinizing hormone (LH) and chorionic gonadotropin (CG) are synthesized in pituitary gonadotropes and placenta, respectively, and are essential to mammalian reproduction. Research in my laboratory is directed towards understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in regulating the genes encoding these hormones. One area of emphasis is on how gonadotropin-releasing hormone secreted by hypothalamic neurons signals to the pituitary to induce the expression of the genes for LH.

A second area focuses on elucidating the events associated with the differentiation of placental trophoblast cells and their acquisition of expression of CG. We use a variety of experimental approaches and models to examine cell differentiation and gonadotropin gene expression such as the study of DNA-protein and protein-protein interactions, DNA microarrays, promoter analysis, transgenic mice and human embryonic stem cells. Our overall goal is to identify the physiologically relevant molecular and cellular events responsible for regulating cell differentiation and expression of the gonadotropin subunit genes. This will provide a better understanding of how the reproductive system is normally regulated and ultimately, will provide clues as to how diseases, drugs and the environment impact reproductive success.

Selected Publications

Dutta D, Ray S, Home P, Larson M, Wolfe MW, Paul S. Self-renewal versus lineage commitment of embryonic stem cells: protein kinase C signaling shifts the balance. Stem Cells. 2011 Apr;29(4):618-28.

McDonald EA, Wolfe MW. The Pro-Inflammatory Role of Adiponectin at the Maternal-Fetal Interface. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2011 Jan 19.

McDonald EA, Wolfe MW. Adiponectin attenuation of endocrine function within human term trophoblast cells. Endocrinology. 2009 Sep;150(9):4358-65.

Chaturvedi G, Simone PD, Ain R, Soares MJ, Wolfe MW. Noggin maintains pluripotency of human embryonic stem cells grown on Matrigel. Cell Prolif. 2009 Aug;42(4):425-33.

Jablonka-Shariff A, Roser JF, Bousfield GR, Wolfe MW, Sibley LE, Colgin M, Boime I. Expression and bioactivity of a single chain recombinant equine luteinizing hormone (reLH). Theriogenology. 2007 Jan 15;67(2):311-20.

Sahgal N, Canham LN, Konno T, Wolfe MW, Soares MJ. Modulation of trophoblast stem cell and giant cell phenotypes: analyses using the Rcho-1 cell model. Differentiation. 2005 Dec;73(9-10):452-62.

Wolfe MW. Culture and transfection of human choriocarcinoma cells. Methods Mol Med. 2006;121:229-39.

Berghorn KA, Clark PA, Encarnacion B, Deregis CJ, Folger JK, Morasso MI, Soares MJ, Wolfe MW, Roberson MS. Developmental expression of the homeobox protein Distal-less 3 and its relationship to progesterone production in mouse placenta. J Endocrinol. 2005 Aug;186(2):315-23.

Roberson MS, Bliss SP, Xie J, Navratil AM, Farmerie TA, Wolfe MW, Clay CM. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone induction of extracellular-signal regulated kinase is blocked by inhibition of calmodulin. Mol Endocrinol. 2005 Sep;19(9):2412-23.

Soares MJ, Wolfe MW. Human embryonic stem cells assemble and fulfill their developmental destiny. Endocrinology. 2004 Apr;145(4):1514-6.

Last modified: Jun 29, 2017

Michael W. Wolfe, Ph.D.


Michael W. Wolfe, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Education
Research Integrity Officer