|Department:||Animal Production Core, Director & Center for Reproductive Biology|
|Credentials:||2011 - Ph.D. Northwestern University|
|Office:||Biotechnology/Life Sciences 302C|
|Mailing Address:||Center for Reproductive Biology|
PO Box 647521
Pullman, WA 99164-7521
Fertilization & Egg Activation, Gene-editing Technologies, Assisted Reproductive Technology, Reproductive Biology, Gamete Biology, Calcium Signaling
Research SummaryResearch and development in the Animal Production Core is focused on developing, optimizing, and improving techniques used to generate and preserve gene-edited animal models for WSU investigators. While the majority of services are performed in mice, the Core remains committed to extending the techniques provided to additional species, including large animal models, and expanding our slate of services to fit investigator needs. Protocols for embryo microinjection, electroporation, sperm and embryo cryopreservation, embryo transfer, and in vitro fertilization will continue to be evaluated and improved, and research toward the application of somatic cell nuclear transfer and improved artificial oocyte activation is being implemented.
In addition to Core development, my personal research interests primarily involve elucidating mechanisms of oocyte maturation, fertilization, and activation of embryonic development. Most of my recent work has focused on how the levels of two divalent cations, Ca2+ and Zn2+, change during oocyte maturation and fertilization, how their dynamics are controlled, and how they influence oocyte physiology. I’m also interested in studying the interactions between these Ca2+ and Zn2+ pathways and their impact on cytoskeletal dynamics and mitochondrial function as the egg transitions to become an embryo. In the future, I would like to extend these investigations from mice to additional species, including large animals, and to begin translating basic science discoveries to applications in development of genetic model organisms, agriculture, and clinical assisted reproductive technology.
Selected Research Publications
ML Bernhardt, E Padilla-Banks, P Stein, Y Zhang, CJ Williams. 2017 Store-operated Ca2+ entry is not required for fertilization-induced Ca2+ signaling in mouse eggs. Cell Calcium 65:63-27.
W Winuthayanon, ML Bernhardt, E Padilla-Banks, PH Myers, ML Edin, FB Lih, SC Hewitt, KS
Korach, CJ Williams. 2015 Oviductal estrogen receptor alpha signaling prevents protease-mediated embryo death. eLife 4:e10453.
ML Bernhardt, Y Zhang, CF Erxleben, E Padilla-Banks, CE McDonough, YL Miao, DL Armstrong, CJ Williams. 2015 CaV3.2 T-type channels support Ca2+ influx during oocyte maturation and following fertilization. J Cell Science 128(23):4442-52.
ML Bernhardt, KM Lowther, E Padilla-Banks, CE McDonough, KN Lee, AV Evsikov, TF Uliasz, P Chidiac, CJ Williams*, LM Mehlmann* (*co-senior authors). 2015 Regulator of G-protein signaling 2 (RGS2) suppresses premature calcium release in mouse eggs. Development 142(15):2633-40.
ML Bernhardt, AM Kim, BY Kong, TV O’Halloran, TK Woodruff. 2012 A zinc-dependent mechanism regulates meiotic progression in mammalian oocytes. Biol Reprod 86(4):114.
AM Kim, ML Bernhardt, BY Kong, RW Ahn, TK Woodruff, and TV O’Halloran. 2011 Zinc sparks are triggered by fertilization and facilitate cell cycle resumption in mammalian eggs. ACS Chemical Biology 15;6(7):716-23.
ML Bernhardt, AM Kim, TV O’Halloran, TK Woodruff. 2011 Zinc requirement during meiosis I-meiosis II transition in mouse oocytes is independent of the Mos-MAPK pathway. Biol Reprod 84(3):526-536.
J Weiss, ML Bernhardt, MM Laronda, L Hurley, C Glidewell-Kenney, S Pillai, M Tong, KS Korach, JL Jameson. 2008 Estrogen actions in the male reproductive system involve ERE-independent pathways. Endocrinology 149(12):6198-206.
KP Roberts, KM Ensrud, LB Piehl, KR Parent, ML Bernhardt, and DW Hamilton. 2008 Association of the Protein D and Protein E forms of rat CRISP1 with epididymal sperm. Biol Reprod 79(6):1046-53.