Mary Ann Handel, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Investigates the genetic regulation of meiosis and the mechanisms of male fertility to understand how errors in meiosis can lead to developmental abnormalities.

The Handel laboratory investigates the genetic regulation of meiosis and spermatogenesis and male fertility. Meiosis is the specialized cell division, unique to germ cells, that reduces the number of chromosome sets from two (diploid) to one(haploid), thus producing the egg and sperm gametes that come together during sexual reproduction. Appropriate dynamics and behavior of chromosomes during meiosis are essential to genetic integrity and reproductive success. Our investigations focus on factors extrinsic and intrinsic to meiotic chromosomes that establish meiotic chromosome structural transitions in both male and female germ cells and identify sexually dimorphic events. From our endeavors, significant new information is emerging about how germ cells program meiotic events, and ultimately this will help us understand how errors in meiotic mechanisms lead to aneuploidy, or inappropriate chromosome number, producing developmental abnormalities in offspring.

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Grants, Honors, and Accomplishments

2010 - AAAS Fellow

2009 – 2014  - Faculty, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, Frontiers in Reproduction

2008- 2015 - Director, Cooperative Predoctoral Program, The Jackson Laboratory

2011 - Professor, Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine

2005  - Adjunct Professor, Graduate Faculty, University of Maine

2003 - Senior Research Scientist, The Jackson Laboratory

2003 - Professor Emeritus, University of Tennessee

1989 – 2002 - University of Tennessee Distinguished Service Professor

1998 - 2003 - Faculty, University of Tennessee - Oak Ridge National Laboratory School of Genome Science and Technology

1995 - 2003 - Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Tennessee

1973 - 1995 - Assistant, Associate, Full Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Tennessee

Ongoing NIH-funded projects

  • Cell Cycle Regulation during Spermatogenesis
  • Selective Translational Regulation of Male Fertility
  • Molecular Regulation of Meiosis: PRDM9 and Control of Meiotic Progression