Participating Faculty

Miranda Bernhardt

Miranda Bernhardt

Animal Production Core,
Director Center for Reproductive Biology
Room: Biotechnology Life Sciences 302C
Phone: 509-335-8158



Research Interests

Fertilization & Egg Activation, Gene-editing Technologies, Assisted Reproductive Technology, Reproductive Biology, Gamete Biology, Calcium Signaling

Research Summary

Research 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. 
Select Publications
  • Bernhardt ML, Padilla-Banks E, Stein P, Zhang Y, Williams CJ. (2017) Store-operated Ca2+ entry is not required for fertilization-induced Ca2+ signaling in mouse eggs. Cell Calcium. 65:63-72. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2017.02.004. Epub 2017 Feb 11. PMID: 28222911 PMCID: PMC5461193
  • Bernhardt ML, Zhang Y, Erxleben CF, Padilla-Banks E, McDonough CE, Miao YL, Armstrong DL, Williams CJ. (2015) CaV3.2 T-type channels mediate Ca²⁺ entry during oocyte maturation and following fertilization. J Cell Sci. 128(23):4442-52. doi: 10.1242/jcs.180026. Epub 2015 Oct 19. PMID: 26483387 PMCID: PMC4712821
  • Bernhardt ML, Lowther KM, Padilla-Banks E, McDonough CE, Lee KN, Evsikov AV, Uliasz TF, Chidiac P, Williams CJ, Mehlmann LM. (2015) Regulator of G-protein signaling 2 (RGS2) suppresses premature calcium release in mouse eggs. Development 142(15):2633-40. doi: 10.1242/dev.121707. Epub 2015 Jul 9. PMID: 26160904 PMCID: PMC4529029
  • Bernhardt ML, Kong BY, Kim AM, O'Halloran TV, Woodruff TK. (2012) A zinc-dependent mechanism regulates meiotic progression in mammalian oocytes. Biol Reprod. 86(4):114. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.111.097253. Print 2012 Apr. PMID: 22302686 PMCID: PMC3338659
  • Kim AM, Bernhardt ML, Kong BY, Ahn RW, Vogt S, Woodruff TK, O'Halloran TV. (2011) Zinc sparks are triggered by fertilization and facilitate cell cycle resumption in mammalian eggs. ACS Chem Biol. 6(7):716-23. doi: 10.1021/cb200084y. Epub 2011 Apr 28. PMID: 21526836 PMCID: PMC3171139
  • Bernhardt ML, Kim AM, O'Halloran TV, Woodruff TK. (2011)  Zinc requirement during meiosis I-meiosis II transition in mouse oocytes is independent of the Mos-MAPK pathway Biol Reprod. 84(3):526-36. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.110.086488. Epub 2010 Nov 10. PMID: 21076080 PMCID: PMC304313
  • Weiss J, Bernhardt ML, Laronda MM, Hurley LA, Glidewell-Kenney C, Pillai S, Tong M, Korach KS, Jameson JL. (2008) Estrogen actions in the male reproductive system involve ERE-independent pathways. Endocrinology. 149(12):6198-206. doi: 10.1210/en.2008-0122. Epub 2008 Aug 21. PMID: 18719025 PMCID: PMC2613049
  • Roberts KP, Ensrud-Bowlin KM, Piehl LB, Parent KR, Bernhardt ML, Hamilton DW. (2008) Association of the Protein D and Protein E forms of rat CRISP1 with epididymal sperm. Biol Reprod. 79(6):1046-53. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.108.070664. Epub 2008 Aug 13. PMID: 18703418 PMCID: PMC2844498