UMass Amherst-led Cross-disciplinary Research Examines Fertility Impacts of Male Environmental Exposure

The three-year grant is part of the NIEHS initiative known as ViCTER (Virtual Consortium for Translational/Transdisciplinary Environmental Research). The program aims to stimulate unconventional partnerships among environmental health scientists in an effort to accelerate breakthroughs in research.

The new award’s co-investigators are reproductive biologists Pablo Visconti, a UMass Amherst professor of veterinary and animal sciences, and Sarah Kimmins, associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Epigenetics, Reproduction and Development at McGill University in Montreal.

The Visconti Lab will focus on the impact of adult mouse exposure to the phthalates DEHP and DBP and their mixture on sperm capacitation, or the physiological changes that must occur for sperm to penetrate and fertilize an egg, and the subsequent embryo development. “As part of this cross-disciplinary research, by using an ongoing mouse model of preconception phthalate exposure, we will build upon Dr. Pilsner’s recent findings showing that preconception paternal anti-androgenic phthalate exposures are associated with diminished blastocyst quality in humans undergoing IVF,” Visconti explains.

University of Massachusetts Amherst News & Media Relations, October 30, 2019