The Medical College of Wisconsin received a two-year, $416,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development to investigate causes of infertility. Paula Traktman, Ph.D., the Walter Schroeder Professor and Chairman of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and Senior Associate Dean for Research Development, is principal investigator for the grant.
About one in seven couples worldwide have problems conceiving. About 10 million couples in the United States are affected by infertility, and about 2 million couples seek fertility treatments each year.
Dr. Traktman is researching the formation of sperm and egg cells in mice. Specifically, her work is focused on an enzyme known as the VRK1 protein kinase. When this enzyme is deficient, sperm and egg production in mammals appears to be compromised or halted, causing infertility.
Deeper understanding of how this enzyme functions within the body may lead to more effective fertility treatments as well as identifying new targets for male contraception.
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