Our research program in reproductive biology seeks to understand how hormones secreted from the pituitary gland (FSH and LH) act on the ovary to bring about the changes in cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and gene expression that will result in ovulation and luteinization of the ovarian follicle during each reproductive cycle. We use the genes encoding the hormones inhibin and activin, which are produced in the ovary and act on the pituitary gland to regulate reproductive hormone secretion, as a model system to address these questions. We are presently focused on two major research directions. We are investigating the dynamic regulation of inhibin expression during the reproductive cycle, and are exploring the roles of cAMP-responsive transcription factors (CREB and ICER) as well as the related orphan nuclear receptors steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) and liver receptor homologue-1 (LRH-1), in this process. We are also investigating developmental pathways in the ovary involved in the initial formation and growth of ovarian follicles, and are attempting to understand how inhibin and activin regulate normal follicle development and how their misexpression might contribute to the formation of abnormal follicles. Our work focuses on molecular mechanisms regulating normal reproductive function, but is substantially informed by, and relevant to, reproductive disorders that impact fertility.