Reproductive Medicine Group
Carmen J. Williams, M.D., Ph.D.
The Reproductive Medicine Group examines the molecular basis of early reproductive events including gamete maturation and function, fertilization, and implantation. For many of these studies, the mouse model system is used because it closely approximates early reproductive processes in the human. For some studies group members are able to use human tissues or gametes to learn directly about human reproduction and human diseases that affect health and fertility. The overall goal of this work is to improve understanding of the basic processes involved in regulating early reproduction and development, and thereby provide a rational scientific basis for improving both human reproductive health and contraceptive options. There is increasing interest in the idea that environmental toxins/endocrine disruptors significantly affect human fertility. The Reproductive Medicine Group will pursue how these agents affect early reproductive events in normal couples and in those with infertility.
Major areas of research:
- Effects of the environment on gamete and embryo quality and reproductive tract function
- Signal transduction mechanisms of egg activation and preimplantation embryo development
- Effects of neonatal estrogenic chemical exposure on reproductive tract function in the mouse model
- Effects of fetal bisphenol A exposure on female reproductive tract development
- PLCζ as a marker of human sperm function
- Egg PLCβ1 as a modulator of calcium oscillations at fertilization
- Modulators of embryonic genome activation after fertilization
- Spatiotemporal aspects of calcium signaling at fertilization
Carmen J. Williams, M.D., Ph.D, leads the Reproductive Medicine Group within the Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology and the Clinical Research Program. She received an M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine in 1986, then completed a Residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at Pennsylvania Hospital in 1990 and a Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility at the University of Pennsylvania in 1993. After her clinical training she went on to complete a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1997 and subsequent postdoctoral fellowship training at Penn. She became an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2000, where she served as an attending physician in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility while running an active basic research laboratory in the Center for Research on Reproduction & Women's Health. She moved to the NIEHS in September, 2007.