My laboratory's primary research focus is to elucidate the biochemical and molecular biological events that are responsible for the induction of apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the mammalian ovary. We use a variety of approaches to map the ovarian cell death program, including gene expression analyses, gene knockout studies and transgenic mouse models. Our ultimate goal is to understand the mechanisms responsible for the induction of apoptosis in oocytes (the female germ cell), and how manipulation of cell death in the germ line impacts on ovarian lifespan and tumorigenesis (surface epithelial cell transformation). These studies may provide new clues as to the etiology of ovarian cancer in humans, as well as to the events that culminate in the normal menopause (ovarian senescence) and premature ovarian failure observed in female cancer patients post-therapy. Regarding the latter, with survival rates increasing in these patients, it is imperative that we discover new ways to provide a higher quality of life post-therapy through alleviation of one of the major side-effects of cancer therapy, that being premature menopause and infertility.