Dr Roseanne Rosario

Ovarian biology and female fertility

Research summary

Female fertility is governed by two key factors: oocyte quality and quantity, with the loss of quality underpinning the exponential increase in age-related aneuploidy, and the loss of quantity underlying the age at menopause. These factors are increasingly important for women where societal and demographic changes have influenced the age at which they wish to have their families. Furthermore, these factors can be significantly compromised by cancer treatment and other medical conditions, causing early loss of fertility. We aim to better understand how primordial follicles are formed, mechanisms effecting their loss, and the impact this has on the female reproductive lifepsan. 


Current research interests

1. Establishment of ovarian reserve and dynamics surrounding follicle loss. Women are born with a finite reserve of primordial follicles that underpin their lifelong reproductive potential. Greater understanding of how these follicles are formed during fetal life and pathways/factors dictating their loss may provide an opportunity for both diagnosis and therapy. Our work in this area has focussed on the role of RNA binding proteins DAZL and BOLL, and how they act together to co-ordinate the journey germ cells take towards becoming competent oocytes. Our collaborators here include Prof Richard Anderson (CRH) and Prof Ian Adams (IGC). 2. Effects of chemotherapy on the human ovary and methods for chemoprotection. The human ovary is susceptible to damage and unwanted side effects from chemotherapy treatment and other medical/environmental exposures. Our work aims to delineate the mechanisms underlying these effects, not just specifically on ovarian follicles, but all ovarian cell types including the stroma and immune cells. Furthermore, we are investigating agents that can be used to mitigate may protect and preserve female fertility. Our collaborators here include Prof Evelyn Telfer (CRH), Prof Richard Anderson (CRH), A/P Karla Hutt (Monash University) and Prof Susansa De Sousa Lopes (Leiden University).