Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Joy Lapseritis
Joy M. Lapseritis's photoJoy Lapseritis

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Research Interests
The central theme of my research is the evolution and diversity of complex physiological traits in mammals & other vertebrates, with emphasis on reproductive endocrinology. This research involves analyses at multiple biological levels, from molecular genetics and biochemistry to molecular endocrinology and classical physiology. I utilize a comparative approach to address specific questions in the evolution of reproductive diversity including viviparity, placentation, and lactation among therian clades (eutherian, metatherian and prototherian), with parallel interests in reptiles, fishes and birds. Chemical signaling not only takes place within an organism (endogenous signaling; hormones for example), but environmental (exogenous) cues also impact the physiological - and ultimately - behavioral functions of vertebrate animals. My studies in toxicology are instructive in identifying developmental endpoints of high sensitivity and abnormal reproductive outcomes, and supply connections to applied science. The adaptations of marine mammals to life in a concentrated chemical environment also figure significantly into my research pursuits.

? Molecular mechanisms of endocrine control (receptor-ligand interactions, protein-protein interactions)
? Genomic & physiological approaches to examine the evolution of mammalian reproduction, especially: viviparity, placentation, lactation, gametogenesis, sexual differentiation
? Marine mammal evolution & adaptation to life in the marine environment (cellular responses to xenobiotic chemicals; reproductive strategies to maximize success)
? Environmental pollution & endocrine disruption (species-specific sensitivity; impacts of chemical pollutants on reproduction in endangered species)

Dissertation Research
Mechanistic Diversity of Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor and Endocrine Signaling in Marine Vertebrates

Ph.D., Biological Oceanography, (Expected 2006) Joint Program in Oceanography & Ocean Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology & Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Cambridge, MA & Woods Hole, MA Advisor: Dr. Mark E. Hahn

A.M., Biology (2000) Smith College, Northampton, MA, Advisor: Dr. Virginia Hayssen

A.B., Biology, marine science (1994) Smith College, Northampton, MA

A.A., Nat. Sci. & Math. (1992) Simon?s Rock College of Bard, Great Barrington, MA

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