Jennifer Wood

Photo Jennifer WoodAssociate Professor

A224k Animal Science
Phone: (402)472-6437
Fax: (402)472-6362
Email: jwood5@unl.edu
Website: Dr. Jennifer Wood's Lab

Mini CV

EDUCATION

  • B.A., Indiana University, IN, 1992, Microbiology
  • M.S., University of Illinois, IL, 1996, Reproductive Endocrinology, Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois, IL, 2000, Reproductive Endocrinology-Thesis: Estrogen Receptor Conformation: Modulation by Estrogen Response Elements, Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • Post-doctorate, University of Pennsylvania, PA, 2000-2005, Center for Research on Reproduction and Women's Health

PREVIOUS POSITIONS HELD

  • 2006 – present Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • 2005 – 2006 Visiting Scholar, Center for Research on Reproduction and Women's Health, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2000 - 2005 Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Research on Reproduction and Women's Health, University of Pennsylvania.
  • 1992 - 1994 Cytogenetic Technician, Indiana University Medical Center

AWARDS & HONORS

  • President's Presenter Award, Society of Gynecological Investigation, 2005
  • Bayard T. Storey Research Award, University of Pennsylvania, 2004
  • Young Investigator's Travel Grant, Endocrine Society, 2001
  • American Heart Association Illinois Affiliate Student Award, 1998-2000

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • Society for the Study of Reproduction
    • Session Co-Chair; Fertilization and Early Embryo Development; 2006 Annual Meeting
    • Member of the Bylaws Committee; 2007
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    • Animal Science Department Social Committee; 2006-present
    • Animal Science Department Undergraduate Scholarship Committee; 2006-present

PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY MEMBERSHIPS

  • American Society of Animal Science
  • Endocrine Society
  • Society for the Study of Reproduction

RESEARCH INTERESTS

  • Nutrition and reproduction are intimately linked in eutherian mammals such that deficiencies in nutrient availability and energy reserves are correlated with embryonic loss and infertility. While the cause of early embryonic loss is likely heterogeneous, studies suggest that oocyte quality is directly correlated to successful embryonic development. Oocyte quality is dependent on the accumulation of nuclear, cytoplasmic, and molecular factors required for meiotic resumption, fertilization, and early embryonic development. Our long-term goal is to elucidate how metabolic hormones, which fluctuate upon availability of nutrients and energy reserves, affect oocyte quality. We are interested in defining mechanistic links between nutrition and oocyte quality in order to optimize the balance of nutrient availability and oocyte quality in cows and thereby improve the profitability and sustainability of cow/calf producers. Since fluctuations in metabolic hormones are also common in women who are obese or have metabolic disorders such as diabetes, defining how these hormones impact oocyte quality may help treat infertility and reduce embryonic loss in this growing subset of women.
  • During oocyte growth mRNAs and proteins are accumulated in the oocyte and subsequently used for completion of meiosis, fertilization, and the initial stages of embryonic development. Therefore one project in the lab is examining how insulin regulates mRNA abundance in oocytes. Since mRNA levels are influenced by the rate of transcription, storage of transcripts, and rate of translation, we are using in vitro follicle cultures and mutant mouse lines (lethal yellow) to study how insulin regulates these processes in the oocyte. The accumulation of oocyte mRNAs and proteins is also dependent on apporpriate bi-directional communication between the oocyte and granulosa cells. To this end, insulin-dependent regulation of mRNA abundance in supporting granulosa cells is also being examined using the same model systems.
  • Previous work in the lab demonstrates that oocytes of poor quality have increased expression of genes associated with the centrosome. Traditionally, this organelle is inactive in oocytes but recent literature suggests that proteins which are associated with the centrosome may contribute to successful oocyte maturation. Likewise, excessive accumulation of these mRNAs during oocyte growth may negatively impact early embryonic development. Therefore, a second profect in the lab is underway to examine the role of the centrosome-associated proetins Nek2 and Nek4 during oocyte maturation and/or early embryonic development. Furthermore, we are using mouse and bovine models of good versus poor oocyte quality to determine if Nek2 and Nek4 serve as biochemical markers of oocyte quality. Finally, we are testing the hypothesis that these poorly described mitotic kinases interact with components of the insulin signal transduction pathway and perhaps provide another mechanistic link between nutrition and oocyte quality.

COURSES

  • ASCI 845: Animal Physiology
    Semester: Fall
    Summary: The focus of this course in the normal physiology of blood, bone, neurosensory, neuromuscular, endocrine, and male and femal reproductive systems. We will examine the molecular, cellular, and tissue dependent functions of each system using human, domestic livestock, and companion animal species as models. At the completion of this course you should understand the function of each system as well as how multiple systems are integrated to perform essential physiological functions. THis course will provide a knowledge base for subsequent study of abnormal structure and function in pathology courses and clinical medicine.
  • ASCI 846: Animal Physiology II
    Semester: Spring
    Summary: The focus of this course is the normal physiology of the digestive (non-ruminent and ruminent)=, cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal systems. We will examine the molecular, cellular, and tissue dependent functions of each system using human, domestic livestock, and companion animal species as models. At the completion of this course you should understand the function of each system as well as how multiple systems are integrated to perform essential physiological functions. This course will provide a knowledge base for subsequent study of abnormal structure and function in pathology courses and clinical medicine.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

  • Cockerill K.A., Kerl J.G., and Wood J.R. (2008) Expression of the mitotic kinases Nek2 and Nek4 is coordinately regulated in the ovary during esturs, Society for the Study of Reproduction 41st Annual Meeting, Kona, H.I. (abstract)
  • Wood J.R., Greene G.L. and Nardulli A.M. (1998) Estrogen response elements function as allosteric modulators of estrogen receptor conformation. Mol Cell Biol 18:1927-1934.
  • Wood, J.R., Likhite, .S., Loven, M.A., Nardulli, A.M. (2001) Allosteric modulation of estrogen receptor conformation by different estrogen response elements. Mol Endocrinol 15.1114-1126.
  • Wood, J.R., Nelson, V.L., Ho C., Jansen E., Wang C.Y., Urbanek M., McAllister J.M., Mosselman S., and Strauss III J.F. (2003) The molecular phenotype of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) theca cells and new candidate PCOS genes defined by microarray analysis. J. Biol Chem 278:26380-26390.
  • Hubner K., Fuhrmann G., Christenson L.K., Kehler J., Reinbold R., De La Fuente R., Wood J., Strauss III J.F., Boiani M., and Scholer H.R. (2003) Derivation of oocytes from mouse embryonic stem cells. Science 300:1251-1256.
  • Wood, J.R., Nelson-Degrave V.L., Jansen E., McAllister J.M., Mosselman S., and Strauss III J.F. (2005) Valproate-induced alterations in human theca cell gene expression: clues to the association betweeen valproate use and metabolic side effects. Physiol Genomics 20-233-243
  • Ho, C.K.M.*, Wood, J.R.*, Stewart, D.R., Ewens, K., Ankener, W., Wickenheisser, J., Nelson-Degrave, F., Zhang, Z., Legro, R.S. Dunaif, A., McAllister, J.M. Spielman, R., and Strauss III, J.F. (2005) Increased transcription and increased mRNA stability contribute to increased GATA6 mRNA abundance in PCOS theca cells. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 90:6596-6602
  • Wood, J.R., Dumesic, D.A., Abbott, D.H., Strauss III, J.F. (2006) The transcriptome of the polycystic ovary syndrome oocyte: altered expression of 68 genes which contain putative nuclear receptor binding sites. In preparation

University of Nebraska - Lincoln Animal Science Department