The NU SCOR explores the overarching hypothesis that genetic variation resulting in hyperandrogenemia produces the phenotypic features of the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) by androgen programming in utero as well as by ongoing androgen actions at critical developmental periods and in the adult.  We have found sex-specific metabolic phenotypes in PCOS families, mapped several PCOS susceptibility genes, developed animal models of androgen programming and discovered that androgen-mediated estrogen resistance is an important mechanism for these androgen actions. It is clear that the genes for PCOS so far identified do not explain the high heritability of this disorder.  We will investigate the mechanisms for this deficit in heritability as well as the molecular mechanisms by which estrogen resistance can produce obesity and metabolic abnormalities in PCOS. Our strategy for achieving the SCOR objectives is to directly investigate the genetic, epigenetic and hormonal determinants PCOS in three highly interactive, synergistic and interdisciplinary projects: Projects I and II are clinical research projects and Projects III will utilize a novel non-human primate model. Although each project is discrete, the proposed SCOR as a whole will continue to comprehensively investigate novel mechanisms for the pathogenesis of PCOS.

Learn more about our department’s research enterprise via the links below.