U3B: Reproductive senescence


Ovary senescence

Karla Hutt, Associate Professor, Monash University, Australia  

Associate Professor Karla Hutt is an ARC Future Fellow and co-Head of the Development and Stem Cells Discovery Program at Monash University. She obtained her PhD from the Australian National University in 2006, where her studies focussed on understanding ovarian development. She then undertook her postdoctoral studies at the University of Kansas Medical Center (USA), investigating the impact of environmental toxicants on oocyte and embryo quality. In 2008 she returned to Australia to join Prince Henry’s Institute. She subsequently joined the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at Monash University in 2015, where she now leads the Ovarian Biology Laboratory. Her lab investigates the biological, cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the loss of oocyte number and quality associated with reproductive aging, contaminated environments, cancer treatment and infection. Her goal is to use these insights to develop innovative strategies to protect the ovary from damage and preserve optimal fertility. Her research is supported by grants and fellowships from the ARC, NHMRC and NBCF.


Reproductive ageing in wild vertebrate populations 

Professor Anne M Bronikowski, Professor, Integrative Biology, Michigan State University, USA

Presentation learning objective: Among primates, humans are unique in their long female post-reproductive lifespan. Among amniotes, most species do not exhibit female reproductive senescence. In some amniotes, this is due to high mortality which may obscure reproductive decline. Whereas in others, oocyte maturation and ovulation continue in the oldest old and reproductive output increases with advancing age.

Dr Bronikowski studies ageing in a comparative biological context. She merges biodemography, genomics, and physiology to understand the evolution of declining fertility and survival with advancing age. She leverages natural variation across diverse animal species and across populations within single species to test proximate and ultimate causes of aging. She focuses on wild populations where reproductive and mortality senescence evolved.