Teresa K. Woodruff Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Molecular Biosciences

Research Interests

Regulation of Ovarian Follicle Growth

We are working in three main areas. The first is ovarian follicle development, the study of the formation and maturation of the ovarian follicle, which is the basic functional unit of the ovary. The follicle includes somatic cells (which make hormones like estrogen and inhibin) and the oocyte (or egg). We are attempting to isolate the factors that regulate follicle and oocyte maturation and to understand the mechanisms of follicle and oocyte survival and death. The second focus of the Woodruff Lab is to develop an in vitro follicle culture systems that can mimic the normal in vivo patterns of follicle development. The end goal of this research is to allow us to successfully remove healthy ovarian tissue from a cancer patient, safely store it until the patient has completed their treatment, and then to either harvest follicles from the tissue in an effort to grow them, or surgically transplant the tissue to restore natural ovulation. Our third area of study is on the endocrine hormones inhibin and activin, which govern the reproductive cycle. Work on these hormones is essential to an understanding of healthy reproductive cyclicity and on the treatment of infertility.

Selected Publications

Zinc availability during germline development impacts embryo viability in Caenorhabditis elegansMendoza AD, Woodruff TK, Wignall SM, and O'Halloran TV. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology & Pharmacology. 2017 January;191:194-202.

The zinc spark is an inorganic signature of human egg activation. Duncan FE, Que EL, Zhang N, Feinberg EC, O'Halloran TV, and Woodruff TK. Scientific Reports. 2016 April 26;6:24737.

Next Generation Sequencing-Based Comprehensive Chromosome Screening in Mouse Polar Bodies, Oocytes, and Embryos. Treff NR, Krisher RL, Tao X, Garnsey H, Bohrer C, Silva E, Landis J, Taylor D, Scott RT, Woodruff TK, and Duncan FE. Biology of Reproduction. 2016 April 1;94(4):76,1-11.

The fertilization-induced zinc spark is a novel biomarker of mouse embryo quality and early development. Zhang N, Duncan FE, Que EL, O'Halloran TV, and Woodruff TK. Scientific Reports. 2016 March 18;6:22772.

Primordial Follicle Transplantation within Designer Biomaterial Grafts Produce Live Births in a Mouse Infertility Model. Kniazeva E, Hardy AN, Boukaidi SA, Woodruff TK, Jeruss JS, and Shea LD. Scientific Reports. 2015 December 3;5:17709.

In vitro follicle growth supports human oocyte meiotic maturation. Xiao S, Zhang J, Romero MM, Smith KN, Shea LD, and Woodruff TK. Scientific Reports. 2015 November 27;5:17323.

Geography of Follicle Formation in the Embryonic Mouse Ovary Impacts Activation Pattern During the First Wave of Folliculogenesis. Cordeiro MH, Kim S-Y, Ebbert K, Duncan FE, Ramalho-Santos J, and Woodruff TK. Biology of Reproduction. 2015 October 1;93(4):88,1-10.

Size-specific follicle selection improves mouse oocyte reproductive outcomes. Xiao S, Duncan FE, Bai L, Nguyen CT, Shea LD, and Woodruff TK. Reproduction. 2015 September 1;150(3):183-192.

The inorganic anatomy of the mammalian preimplantation embryo and the requirement of zinc during the first mitotic divisions. Kong BY, Duncan FE, Que EL, Xu Y, Vogt S, O'Halloran TV, and Woodruff TK. Developmental Dynamics. 2015 August;244(8):935-947.

Virtual High-Throughput Screening To Identify Novel Activin Antagonists. Zhu J, Mishra RK, Schiltz GE, Makanji Y, Scheidt KA, Mazar AP, and Woodruff TK. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2015 July 23;58(14):5637-5648.

Engineering the ovarian cycle using in vitro follicle culture. Skory RM, Xu Y, Shea LD, and Woodruff TK. Human Reproduction. 2015 June;30(6):1386-1395.

Age-associated alterations in the micromechanical properties of chromosomes in the mammalian egg. Hornick JE, Duncan FE, Sun M, Kawamura R, Marko JF, and Woodruff TK. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics. 2015 May;32(5):765-769.

Cell Autonomous Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase Activation in Oocytes Disrupts Normal Ovarian Function Through Promoting Survival and Overgrowth of Ovarian Follicles. Kim S-Y, Ebbert K, Cordeiro MH, Romero M, Zhu J, Serna VA, Whelan KA, Woodruff TK, and Kurita T. Endocrinology. 2015 April;156(4):1464-1476.

View all publications by Teresa K. Woodruff listed in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). Current and former IBiS students in blue.