Center for Reproductive Longevity and Equality

Exploring the critical relationship between reproductive function and aging.

While aging research is seeing unprecedented acceleration, how and why women undergo a decline in reproductive function with age is understudied. Thanks to a significant gift from Nicole Shanahan, the Buck has established the Center for Reproductive Longevity and Equality (CRLE). This is the first facility anywhere in the world focused solely on reproductive longevity and equality as it relates to aging and ending the threat of age-related disease.

Our goal is to conduct basic research to understand the mechanisms of female reproductive aging and develop strategies to prevent or delay ovarian aging. The end of fertility sets off a cascade of negative health effects in women’s bodies that impact bone, cognitive, cardiovascular and immune function. We want to understand why human women undergo a decline in fertility (menopause), why it varies between individuals, and why it correlates with life span. We think that understanding the limits on mammalian female reproductive capacity may provide important clues about aging in other tissues, as many hallmarks of aging are shared between somatic cells and oocytes. We collaborate with research groups around the world and promote open access data sharing.

  • Jennifer Garrison, PhD  Assistant Professor

    Garrison lab page

  • Francesca Duncan, PhD  Assistant Professor in Residence

    Duncan website

  • Polina Lishko, PhD  Adjunct Associate Professor

    Lishko website

  • Deena Emera, PhD  Senior Scientist and Writer in Residence

    Dr. Emera’s CV

  • Julia Balough  Reproductive Biology Hub Operations Leader
  • Lauren Haky  Research Associate

    Lauren received her undergraduate degree in biology from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. In an undergraduate laboratory, she participated in a collaborative large scale mutagenetic screen using Drosophila melanogaster to target the Actin Depolymerizing Factor and cofilin ortholog slingshot. During the summer of 2019, she interned for DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences where she expressed novel fusion proteins. In her free time Lauren enjoys to paint, go on hikes with her corgi pup, Daisy, and debate art history theories.

  • Kanako Ikami, PhD  Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Kanako received her BA degree in pharmacy from Kyoto Pharmaceutical University in Japan 2008 and her Ph.D. from National Institute for Basic Biology in Japan in 2014. During her PhD . Kanako studied mechanism of spermatonial stem cell maintenance during mouse spermatogenesis. Kanako joined the Lei lab at the University of Michigan in 2015 and has been working on cell fate determination during oocyte formation. Kanako received several awards during her postdoc time, including the fellowships from Toyobo Biotechnology Foundation, The Uehara Memorial Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. During her free time, Kanako likes to play tennis and piano.

  • Doyle Lokitiyakul  PhD Candidate, Buck-USC Biology of Aging Program

    Doyle received his undergraduate BA degree in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis. Currently, he is a graduate student from the University of Southern California-Buck Biology of Aging Ph.D. program, joining the Lei lab in July 2020. As an undergrad, his main focus was on NAD+ and its regulatory effects on the aging process. During his undergraduate project, he participated in a CRISPR Cas9 screen, aiming to determine which protein was responsible for a sudden decrease in NAD levels within macrophages during inflammation: a phenomenon that is hypothesized to contribute to age related inflammation. Currently, as a member of the Lei lab, he is interested in studying how oocytes maintain their molecular integrity and functions with age. During his free time Doyle enjoys reading long science fiction/epic fantasy novels and practicing Muay Thai.

  • Ronald Pandoy  Research Associate and Administrative Lab Manager

    Ronald received a BS degree in physiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2010. After working for several years, he decided to expand his education and obtained an additional BS degree in biomedical science from La Sierra University in 2016. Upon completing his additional degree, Ronald enrolled at Walla Walla University to pursue a MS degree in biology. There, he completed his thesis in 2019 which focused on protein degradation pathways in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. Ronald joined the Buck in August 2019. In his spare time, Ronald enjoys all manners of sports and games.

  • Hao Yan, PhD  Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Dr. Yan Grew up in Sichuan, China and obtained his bachelor’s degree in bio-engineering in Southwest Jiaotong University in China. After that, he studied ovary development in mice at China Agricultural University and received his PhD degree in physiology in June 2018. The research was focused on the understanding of mechanisms of non-renewable primordial follicle formation, maintenance and activation in mammal. Hao joined the Lei lab in August 2019 where he continues to pursue his research interest of ovary development and aging. Hao likes badminton and fishing.

  • Mouse oocytes differentiate through organelle enrichment from sister cyst germ cells

    Lei Lei, PhD
    View article

  • Bipotent stem cells support the cyclical regeneration of endometrial epithelium of the murine uterus

    Shiying Jin, PhD
    View article

  • Ovulation and ovarian wound healing are impaired with advanced reproductive age

    Francesca Duncan, PhD
    View article

Cynthia Curtice
Administrative Coordinator
Phone: 415-209-2001

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