Milan Bagchi is the Director of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, the Deborah Paul Endowed Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, a University Scholar, and Romano Professorial Scholar. His research seeks to identify the molecular pathways regulated by the steroid hormones estrogen and progesterone during growth and differentiation of hormone-responsive tissues. The physiological effects of these hormones are mediated through cognate nuclear receptors, which function as ligand-inducible transcription factors. We are working to characterize, at molecular and cellular levels, the hormonal mechanisms that regulate embryo implantation and fertility.
Implantation is a complex series of maternal-fetal interactions driven by a cascade of signaling events regulated by the estrogen and progesterone receptors. The central hypothesis driving our research program is that defects in critical hormonal signaling pathways lead to improper uterine function during implantation, and result in pregnancy loss and infertility. Gene expression profiling combined with ChIP-sequencing analyses have uncovered novel steroid-regulated pathways, providing important insights into the cellular mechanisms by which implantation is controlled. Combination of this new knowledge with functional analysis in gene knockout mouse models is providing a blueprint of the molecular networks that mediate the hormonal regulation of this process.
A clear understanding of the gene pathways underlying the tissue-specific actions of estrogen and progesterone receptors should aid in developing targeted therapeutic strategies for the treatment of hormone-dependent breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers, and disease conditions, such as endometriosis and infertility.