Research interests

  • Role of cyclic nucleotides in ovarian function
  • Role of cyclic nucleotides in mitchondrial function
  • Genomic and epigenomic

My research program studies the oocyte, better known as the egg but in its immature state. Our team is particularly interested in cell signaling since it plays a key role in oocyte maturation. Even more specifically, we investigate the role of cyclic nucleotide degradation enzymes, called phosphodiesterases (PDE). We have made interesting discoveries by identifying new families of PDEs present in the cumulus cells, some of which appear to be regulated by their association with the so called lipid raft, a cell membrane lipid platform. We also have a research interest in understanding the dialogue between the cumulus cells and the oocyte. We have developed a tool that allows us to perform a functional evaluation of the cumulus cells response by measuring “Gap junction communication” using FRAP, a photometric tool linked to live-cell imaging. We recently demonstrated the functional presence of a phosphodiesterase in the mitochondria of cumulus cells as well as its contribution to steroid synthesis.

Because energy levels play an important role in the oocyte fate, we also studied the AMPK metabolic switch. We have shown that it is indeed critical for both oocyte meiosis and the expansion of cumulus cells. Finally, a better understanding of signaling will lead to the development of better culture conditions for gametes.

Members of the laboratory

Marie-Pier Poulin, Agr
Master student

Tiphanie Mérel, MSc
PhD student

Amel Lounas, MSc
PhD student

Ariane Lebrun