College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
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Kelly Young


Office: MLSC 227

Office Phone: 562-985-4859


Research Interests:

Our reproductive biology laboratory examines the effects of the environment on gonadal function. Specifically, we are interested in the genes and gene families that regulate the transition from the breeding to the non-breeding season, or from the breeding to non-breeding state. Individuals of most non-tropical species limit their reproductive activity to the season(s) of the year that will optimize their reproductive success. Many individuals have evolved mechanisms that allow utilization of changing photoperiod (the number of hours of light in the day) to cue seasonal changes in reproductive function. For example, in many small rodent species, photoperiods typical of winter season will curtail reproductive behavior and physiology. Short photoperiods induce an atrophy or regression of the ovaries and testes, thus stopping reproductive activity until environmental resources are more abundant. We are interested in determining the molecular and cellular processes that are involved with photoperiod-induced changes in ovarian function. Our main projects examine alterations in growth factors, proteases, apoptotic processes, and cell cycle proteins in the ovary of Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus). However, we also work on gonads from many marine and avian species. Our research goal is to increase knowledge of both gonadal physiology and environmental effects on reproductive cycles.