Developmental Epigenetics and Bioinformatics Laboratory

The laboratory was founded in 2023. We study unconventional mammalian model species to understand evolutionary history and molecular (especially epigenetic) mechanisms of long-term female fertility at the levels of oocytes, their ovarian niche, and successful embryonic development.

Lab members

Lenka Gahurová

head of the laboratory

Eva Kopecká

technical assistant, researcher

Nikolas Tolar

Ph.D. candidate

Alyssa Malapit Fontanilla

Ph.D. candidate

Eliška Bláhová

MSc. student

Jakub Kořenář

MSc. student

Michaela Kazíková

BSc. student

Pavlína Chudá

BSc. student

Lenka Ošmerová

BSc. student

Anja Drobnjak

BSc. student

Vilja Langer

BSc. student

Laura Andessner-Angleitner

BSc. student

Research

Mammalian oocytes (=female eggs) are established during female embryonic development as a finite pool. They are essential for propagation of the species yet are among the oldest cells in the body – they can be several decades old in long-lived species such as humans. They preserve their quality for extraordinarily long time compared to most other cell types in the body, nevertheless, female fertility is one of the first physiological functions undergoing age-associated decline. This decline is generally associated with decreased quantity and quality of oocytes, affecting the ability to sustain successful embryonic development.
Studies on female fertility and oocyte biology are mostly performed on mouse, a classical mammalian model. However, mice are fertile only for <12 months, and cannot therefore fully recapitulate biological processes in long-lived species that are fertile for several decades. Moreover, increasing number of studies show that mechanism uncovered in mouse do not universally apply across mammals.

What we ask:
(1) What are the molecular mechanisms conferring long-term oocyte quality and what can go wrong? How is oocyte quality and quantity affected by their ovarian niche and physiological processing taking place in the ovary (such as ovulations)?
(2) How does the dynamic relationship between host and transposons affect oocyte biology, maternal to zygotic transition, and embryonic development, and does it change during maternal aging?


What we do:
We employ various sequencing (genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics) and imaging approaches to study oocytes, ovaries and embryos of multiple short-lived and long-lived rodent species from different phylogenetic groups – especially naked mole-rat, giant mole-rat, guinea pig, coruro, blind mole rat and mouse.


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Branišovská 1645/31a, 370 05 České Budějovice Tel. 387 776 201 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Branišovská 1645/31a, 370 05 České Budějovice Tel. 387 776 201 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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