Ana María Salicioni
Research efforts in my laboratory are directed towards a better understanding of the molecular basis of male fertility, in search of new venues for therapeutic intervention of male infertility, as well as towards identification of molecular targets that will lead to the development of non-hormonal male contraceptives. We have focused our studies on the characterization and analysis of the role of protein kinases and phosphatases in signaling events conducive to sperm capacitation, and on the development of research tools for biochemical analysis of those proteins. In particular, we are interested in identifying the molecule(s) involved in these events in male germ cells, among which we count the novel family of testis-specific serine protein kinases (TSSKs).
At present, our main research goal is to capitalize on the unique properties of the testis-specific serine kinases (TSSKs) as potential targets for specific inhibition of spermiogenesis that could render the sperm unable to fertilize the egg. TSSKs are a recently described family of male germ-specific enzymatic molecules, and we are focused on finding specific inhibitors of these enzymes. We predict that TSSK inhibitors will reversibly block reproduction and therefore constitute ideal candidates for a non-hormonal male contraceptive agent. We have recently demonstrated that four members of the TSSK family are present in mature mammalian sperm, and have also reported valuable biochemical features on this family of kinases (Li et al., MHR 2011; Jha et al., JBC 2013) that will serve as basis in the search for TSSK1 small-molecule inhibitors and for analysis of TSSKs by crystallography.
Learn more at www.vasci.umass.edu/research-faculty/ana-maria-salicioni
- PhD University of San Luis, Argentina, 1993
- Postdoctoral Training: St George’s Hospital Medical School, London, UK; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA