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Ruderman Lab (retired)

Research Interests

Cell cycle regulation, toxicology, signally pathways in Xenopus oocytes.

Research Area

Most of the work in our lab over the past 25 years has centered on the basic molecular mechanisms that regulate cell cycle progression, with a focus on cyclin-dependent kinases and Aurora family kinases that drive control entry into mitosis, chromosome alignment, and exit from mitosis into the next cell cycle. We are also exploring the mitotic roles of other kinases in this process. Much of the lab’s focus has now shifted to using zebrafish to study how certain hormonally active pollutants interfere with normal programs of development and differentiation in very early embryos. These compounds, also called environmental endocrine disruptors, include many kinds of commonly used pesticides, herbicides and fungicide. Several types of chemicals found in polycarbonate, polyvinylchloride and other types of widely used plastics, as well as numerous components of cosmetics and personal care products, also act as endocrine disruptors. At low, non-toxic levels many of these pollutants act as partial estrogen mimics, androgen (e.g. testosterone) disruptors, or both. There is increasing evidence that these types of environmental contaminants are contributing to increasing frequencies of reproductive anomalies, fertility problems, and breast and prostate cancers. Zebrafish provide special advantages for investigating the molecular and developmental effects of hormonally active pollutants. Development is rapid and early embryos are very sensitive to compounds that alter the normal balance of estrogens, androgens, and steroid-responsive pathways. The availability of large numbers of synchronously developing embryos makes the system especially suitable for uncovering how such compounds interfere with specific molecular, cellular and developmental processes.

Current Members

Ruderman, Joan V (Principal Investigator/Director)


Institution: Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School
Cambridge, MA

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