Martin M. Matzuk

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Primary Section: 61, Animal, Nutritional, and Applied Microbial Sciences
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2014)

Biosketch

Martin Matzuk is Director of the Center for Drug Discovery and is Stuart A. Wallace Chair and Professor in the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine. Matzuk is a reproductive biologist and clinical pathologist. He is acknowledged for his interrogation of TGF-beta superfamily, germ cell, and hormonal signaling pathways using functional genomics approaches. Matzuk graduated with a BA with honors in biology from the University of Chicago, earned his MD and PhD from Washington University School of Medicine, performed residency training in clinical pathology at the University of Pennsylvania and Baylor, and joined the Baylor faculty in 1993. Matzuk’s honors include the Richard Weitzman Award from the Endocrine Society, HypoCCS Award from Eli Lilly, Society for the Study of Reproduction Research Award, Pfizer Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology, Roy Greep Award from The Endocrine Society, International Fundacion IVI Award in Reproductive Medicine, and a MERIT award from the NIH. He has chaired the NIH CMIR study section and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund CABS and CAMS review panels, and has been Treasurer of the Society for the Study of Reproduction. Matzuk was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014.

Research Interests

Martin Matzuk’s laboratory is focused on 1) using functional genomics to investigate essential fertility pathways, reproductive tract cancers, and TGF-beta superfamily signaling in mammals and 2) applying chemical biology approaches to develop lead compounds for contraception, cancer, and debilitating diseases. In many cases, his team has taken a discovery-based approach to first uncover genes expressed exclusively in the male or female germ line and, subsequently, to define their roles in vivo using transgenic mouse models. In the process, they have identified novel genes involved in oocyte–somatic cell interactions during ovarian folliculogenesis (e.g., GDF9 and BMP15), oocyte-to-embryo transition (e.g., ZAR1 and NPM2), germ-cell intercellular bridge formation (e.g., TEX14), acrosome formation (e.g., ZPBP1), and the piRNA pathway (e.g., GASZ), among others. If a gene knockout results specifically in a phenotype of male infertility, this gene product may be a promising drug target for contraception in men, and the Matzuk laboratory has begun to characterize small-molecule contraceptives to target the male germ line in vivo. They have successfully created unique mouse models to study ovarian cancer and to decipher the crosstalk of TGF-beta superfamily, hormonal, and small RNA signaling pathways in normal and diseased reproductive tissues and their roles during pregnancy.

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