Pablo J. Ross

Research

My laboratory conducts research in the areas of gamete and embryo biology, nuclear reprogramming after somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) and induction of pluripotency by defined factors (iPSC), and stem cell biology. My research interests are focused on understanding the mechanisms by which differentiated cells (like oocyte, sperm, or somatic cells) are reprogrammed to direct the formation of a whole individual. The central theme of this research is to understand the epigenetic mechanisms by which a differentiated cell is reprogrammed to generate a pluripotent cell. This phenomenon is best exemplified by the process of early embryonic development, where both gametes (highly differentiated cells) are combined to give rise to the zygote (totipotent cell). In this system, the oocyte is responsible for orchestrating the reprogramming mechanism, which transforms the maternal and paternal chromatin to totipotent chromatin. The reprogramming capacity of the oocyte is further demonstrated by its ability to turn a somatic cell nucleus into an embryonic nucleus which is able to drive the development of a whole individual, as is the case with cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer. My long-term goals are to develop and gain knowledge pertaining to the epigenetic changes and mechanisms controlling preimplantation embryonic development and the establish ment of pluripotency, thereby identifying potential targets for improving fertility in animals and developing efficient methodologies for assisted reproductive technologies.  

We use a comparative approach which includes different species (cattle, sheep, horses, monkeys, humans) and different models of nuclear reprogramming (early embryo development, cloning, induced pluripotency, and embryonic stem cells (ESC)). We also make extensive use of next generation sequencing approaches to determine transcriptome and epigenetic profiles. Some of our studies involve development of technologies for the limited amount of biologica l material available from embryos and stem cells.