A Single-Cell Map of the Pediatric Ovary in 3D
Gonadal development begins in utero and continues in many mammals for several decades. This ongoing transition poses challenges to fully understanding its processes. Understanding the changes that occur in the transition from a non-ovulatory prepubertal ovary to an ovulatory postpubertal ovary are critical. This team combines the expertise of clinicians and computational, genomics, imaging, and reproductive biologists to build a single-cell atlas of healthy pediatric ovaries. Pediatric ovaries are collected from a unique UK-tissue biobank, the Oxford Cell and Tissue BioBank, that provides fertility preservation for children and young adults.
This team will generate paired single-cell transcriptomics and chromatin accessibility data of pediatrics ovaries to define cell states and their regulatory networks. To study changes in tissue architecture, the team will perform high-resolution microscopy on tissue-cleared gonadal tissues (3D-imaging). Computational integration of genomics and imaging datasets will elucidate key elements for cellular communication during follicle development, which the team will validate using well-established in vitro models. The roadmap of pediatric ovarian maturation generated will be an essential resource to better understand gonadal pathophysiology, as well as illuminate the development of novel in vitro models of follicle development, with important clinical implications for infertility treatments.