As a clinician scientist, I apply my diverse training and experiences to a variety of novel problems in reproductive physiology as well as the scholarship of teaching to create and evaluate virtual learning tools.
In 2003 the discovery of kisspeptins and their role in reproduction led to a shift in our understanding of the hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis. I provided biological and physiological evidence for this paradigm in the mare (Magee et al, 2009) and evidence that the native decapeptide (Kp-10) was not an ideal ovulation inducing agent (Magee et al., 2012). Continued work on equine kisspeptin required equine specific tools, including development of a radioimmunoassay for Kp (Urias-Castro et al., 2019). I am currently wrapping up a Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation grant ($113,000, PI) to provide evidence for kisspeptin signaling during equine pregnancy.
Gonadotrope cells comprise approximately 10% of the pituitary gland population and yet are responsible for the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge that results in ovulation. The ewe is an excellent model for studying estrogen effects on pituitary function and I have developed techniques for reducing the signal:noise ratio when studying a mixed ovine pituitary cell population (Murtazina et al., 2020). I have provided evidence that obesity blunts and delays the ovine LH surge. This data secured in 2020 and 2022 CSU College Research Council proposals (PI, total $50,000) and have been used to evaluate the ewe as a model for dysregulation of the LH surge activity (reprometabolic syndrome) in women.
Virtual Animal Anatomy (VAA) is a software produced by the Virtual Veterinary Education Tools team at CSU. This team includes students and staff who dissect, photograph, develop text, and program information into 3D anatomy objects. As a team member since 2012 and Program Lead since 2018, I have created equine, bovine, and feline anatomical resources, conducted customer discovery and user outcomes research, developed income generating distribution strategies and secured extramural funding for program development (USDA-HEC $150,000, PI). A review of these activities by Dr. David Paterson (Assistant VP for Research at CSU) has been provided below. For access to the VAA or to learn more about what I do in this space, please click the link below.