Research Assistant Professor
Male contraceptive agent H2-Gamendezole and effects of microgravity on reproductive health
The first project that I am working on is to synthesize and test reversible non-hormonal non-steroidal male contraceptive agents. Specifically, my role involves testing novel compounds (in-vitro as well in-vivo) as potential male contraceptives. I also work on determining the mechanism of action of potent compounds and facilitating toxicology, fertility studies for the compound likely to advance towards clinical trials.
A second major research interest, concerns whether reproductive potential is affected by space flight. To this effect, we examined the effects of microgravity on the female reproductive tract of mice that were flown on the space shuttle on flights STS-131, STS-133 and STS-135. Our studies on these three space shuttle missions were the first to examine the consequences of space flight on ovaries and uteri of mice. We found that with 12-15 days of space-flight exposure, female mice showed significantly small ovaries. Histological analysis showed that flight mice ovaries had fewer corpora lutea and most of the growing follicles in flight ovaries were atretic, indicative of blocked estrous cycle. Ground and flight mice had no significant difference in number of uterine glands, but there was a trend to-ward smaller uteri in flight mice based on the gross pictures, which correlates with the low estrogen receptor alpha (ERa) level. This sets the foundation for our hypothesis that drop in estrogen in reproductive system may be the cause of other estrogen regulated effects seen in the body (bone and muscle loss, wound-healing, immune functions etc.) when exposed to space-flight.