Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray

Degree

Honours student

Area of study

Male reproduction

Year of enrolment

2018

What is your research about and what do you hope to achieve?

Sertoli cells support germ cell development by providing nutrients and growth factors required for sperm maturation. Adjacent Sertoli cells form specialized junctions that create a barrier to entry of factors into the inner part of the seminiferous tubule. These Sertoli cell junctions contribute to the Blood-Testis Barrier (BTB). The BTB has two major functions: 1) it segregates immunogenic meiotic and post-meiotic germs cells away from the immune system and 2) it allows the Sertoli cell to restrict the entry of substances into the seminiferous tubules. A key feature and major component of the BTB are tight junctions (TJs) between Sertoli cells; these junctions are essential for spermatogenesis. Relatively little is known about BTB and tight junction regulation in a healthy adult or how its disruption is related to infertility in men. My honours project is investigating the involvement of germ cells in the regulation of Sertoli cell tight junctions.

What is it like being a student at Hudson Institute?

I am enjoying every minute! I am surrounded by curious like-minded people with a passion for reproductive health.

How will your research help others?

The findings from this project may uncover new regulatory mechanisms of the Sertoli cell tight juctions via specific germ cell types. This knowledge will lead to a better understanding of how tight junctions between Sertoli cells facilitate spermatogenesis, and may provide insights how BTB dysfunction contributes to male infertility.