Projects
Name
Hormone action and cell metabolism in male fertility
University
Portugal ( PorMSIC) - University Beira Interior, Covilha
Domain
Endocrinology
Departement
CICS-UBI - Health Sciences Research Centre
Head
Ana Paula Duarte
Tutor
Prof. Sílvia Socorro, Dr. Sara Correia
Languages
Portuguese, English
Duration
4 weeks
Availability
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
No No No No No No Yes No No No No No
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Over the years, several studies have demonstrated the action of sex steroid hormones in the thigh control of testicular physiology, germ cell development, and sperm function. Steroid hormones also control the proper secretory function of the excurrent ducts, which determines the existence of the optimum environment for sperm acquire their fertilizing capability. More recently, steroid hormones have been identified as metabolic regulators, strongly influencing the metabolism of testicular cells and determining the amount of nutrients available to the germline. On the other hand, many natural and synthetic compounds - endocrine disruptors (EDs) - can mimic hormones actions and adversely affect testicular function hampering the reproductive potential of adults. However, the panoply of molecular players establishing the link between hormones action and human male infertility, as well as, many of the hormones/EDs’ roles in male reproduction remain unknown.
What is the aim of the project?
The project aims to clarify the importance of steroid hormones and the metabolic alterations driven by obesity and diabetes, in germ cell development, excurrent ducts functioning and sperm function which will tell us the effect on male fertility.
What techniques and methods are used?
First the researchers will collect tissue samples and cell cultures. Afterwards, the collected material will go through an extended analysis using the following techniques: cell viability/apoptosis assays, RNA/protein extraction, cDNA synthesis, Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Western Blot and Enzyme activity essays. After this extended process, we will collect and analyze the results and try to assess if metabolic alterations driven by obesity and diabetes have an effect in germ cell development, excurrent ducts functioning and sperm function which will tell us the effect on male fertility.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student will assist research group members and, whenever appropriate, perform some independent laboratory work depending on the state of the project when the internship starts. We will be able to perform the following techniques, such as tissue/cell culture, cell viability/apoptosis assays, RNA/protein extraction, cDNA synthesis, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Western Blot, Enzyme activity assays. He will also participate in the analyses of the results alongside the research group.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Yes, the student will be asked to read articles related to the topic, mainly those published by the host research group, and to attend the seminars scheduled at the research facility
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a scientific report
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
No
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
No
Hours
6
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
Articles
- S. Correia; H.J. Cardoso; J.E. Cavaco; S. Socorro; Estrogens as apoptosis regulators in mammalian testis: angels or devils? ; Expert Rev Mol Med 17 (2015) e2
- S. Correia; M.R. Alves; J.E. Cavaco; P.F. Oliveira; S. Socorro; Estrogenic regulation of testicular expression of stem cell factor and c-kit: implications in germ cell survival and male fertility; Fertility and sterility (2014) 299-306.
- P.F. Oliveira; M.G. Alves; A.D. Martins; S. Correia; R.L. Bernardino; J. Silva; A. Barros; M. Sousa; J.E. Cavaco; S. Socorro; Expression pattern of G protein-coupled receptor 30 in human seminiferous tubular cells; General and comparative endocrinology 201 (2014) 16-20.
- J.E. Cavaco; S.S. Laurentino; A. Barros; M. Sousa; S. Socorro; Estrogen receptors alpha and beta in human testis: both isoforms are expressed; Systems biology in reproductive medicine 55 (2009)137-144.