Department of Reproductive Medicine

David Natale

David Natale, PhD
Assistant Professor
Telephone: (858) 822-0758
Fax: (858) 534-1438
Administrative Assistant:
Ruth Montouri Telephone: (858) 534-1140
Visit our Lab: The Natale Lab

Research Interests

The goal of our research is to learn how we can support the development of the healthiest babies possible. In the United States, 8-10% of pregnancies are affected by conditions such as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) or preeclampsia. Epidemiological studies of groups of babies born growth restricted have demonstrated that these children have an increased incidence of developing diseases as adults that include type II diabetes, hypertension and obesity. This relationship has been termed the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease and refers to fetal programming that results from changes in the uterine environment during pregnancy. The job of the placenta is to establish and maintain the intrauterine environment throughout pregnancy to support fetal growth and development. My lab is focused on understanding how the placenta forms and functions during a healthy pregnancy as well as in pregnancies complicated by IUGR, diabetes and other pathologies of pregnancy. We use both in vitro and in vivo mouse models to investigate the role of trophoblast stem and progenitor cells in placental development and function throughout gestation.

Academic Appointments

2013-presentPost-doctoral Fellow, Genes and Development Research Group, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2013-presentPh.D., Physiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
2008-2013B.Sc. (Honours) Genetics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Education and Training

2003-2008Post-doctoral Fellow, Genes and Development Research Group, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2003Ph.D., Physiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
1996B.Sc. (Honours) Genetics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Selected publications

  1. Outhwaite J, Natale BV, Natale DRC and Simmons DG. (2014) Expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase family 1, member A3 in glycogen trophoblast cells of the murine placenta. Placenta. In Press.
  2. Soncin F, Natale D, Parast MM. (2014). Signaling pathways in mouse and human trophoblast differentiation: a comparative review. Cell Mol Life Sci. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID 25430479.
  3. Kaufman MR, Albers RE, Keoni C, Kulkarni-Datar K, Brown TL* and Natale DRC*. (2014). Important Aspects of Placental-Specific Gene Transfer. Theriogenology. Oct 82(7):1043-1048. * co-anchor authors. PMID: 25110063. PMC4167466
  4. Carey EAK, Hughes M, Natale DRC, Wyatt CN and Brown TL. (2014). AMPK Knockdown in Placental Trophoblast Cells Results in Altered Morphology and Function. Stem Cells and Development. Dec 1:23(23):2921-30. Epub 2014 Aug 18. PMID: 25003940
  5. Toselli C, Hyslop CM, Hughes M, Natale DR, Santamaria P and Huang CT (2014). Contribution of a Non-β-Cell Source to β-cell Mass during Pregnancy. PLoS One, Jun 18:9(6).
  6. Natale BV, Hughes M, Simmons DG and Natale DRC. (2013). Ly6E is expressed in a subset of trophoblast cells in the chorion and labyrinth of the mouse placenta. Placenta, 34(9):831-835.
  7. Watson ED, Hughes M, Simmons DG, Natale DR, Sutherland AE and Cross JC. (2011). Cell-cell adhesion defects in Mrj mutant trophoblast cells are associated with failure to pattern the chorion during early placental development. Dev Dynamics, 240(11):2505-19.
  8. Gasperowicz M and Natale DRC. (2011). Establishing three blastocyst lineages – Then what? Biology of Reproduction, 84(4):621-630.
  9. Natale DRC, Hemberger M, Hughes, M and Cross JC. (2009). Activin promotes differentiation of cultured trophoblast stem cells towards a labyrinth cell fate. Developmental Biology 335:120-131.
  10. Simmons DG*, Natale DRC*, Begay V, Hughes M and Cross JC. (2008). Early patterning of cells that comprise the three trophoblast cell layers of the labyrinth layer of the mouse placenta. Development 135(12):2083-1091. * co-first author.
  11. Natale DRC, Starovic M and Cross JC. (2006). Phenotypic Analysis of the Mouse Placenta. In: Methods in Molecular Medicine, Vol. 121: Placenta and Trophoblast: Methods and Protocols Vol. I, (eds. Soares MJ and Hunt JS). pp 275-293. Humana Press.
  12. Martin-McCaffrey L, Willard FS, Oliveira-dos-Santos AJ, Natale DR, Snow BE, Kimple RJ, Pajak A, Watson AJ, Dagnino L, Penninger JM, Siderovski DP, D'Souza SJ. (2004). RGS14 is a mitotic spindle protein essential from the first division of the mammalian zygote. Developmental Cell 7(5):763-9.
  13. Natale DR, Paliga A, Beier F, D'Souza SJA and Watson AJ. (2004). p38 MAPK signaling during murine pre-implantation development. Developmental Biology 268(1):76-88.
  14. Natale DR and Watson AJ (2002). Rac-1 and IQGAP are potential regulators of E-cadherin-catenin interactions during murine preimplantation development. Mechanisms of Development 119S:S21-S26.