Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology,

and Reproductive Sciences


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Department of Reproductive Medicine

Shunichi Shimasaki, PhD

Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Center for Reproductive Science and Medicine


Professor of Reproductive Medicine


  • PhD - Kawasaki Medical School, 1985



Contact Information:





Administrative Assistant:

  • Andi Hartgove - 858-534-8930


Research Interests

  • Our laboratory is interested in the role of growth/differentiation factors in regulating the mammalian reproductive system; specifically how they control ovarian follicle development and ovulation. The precise physiological control of ovarian folliculogenesis is critical for the determination of ovulation rate, thus female fertility. Alterations in this process are known to cause ovarian dysfunction and infertility.

    A major emphasis of our current research program focuses on the role of TGF-ß superfamily members in regulating granulosa cell proliferation and cytodifferentiation, oocyte development and oocyte-somatic cell communication. In the course of this research we have discovered the presence of a functional bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) system, replete with BMP ligands, receptors and novel biological functions in the mammalian ovary. It has now become clear that the BMP system plays an essential role in the regulation of ovarian function, evidenced by the ability of BMPs to control ovulation rate and fertility. These properties of the BMP system provide the potential for a unique approach to the development of pharmacological regimens for regulating ovarian function, including: i) novel fertility treatments aimed at enhancing fertility at the level of early follicular growth, ii) the development of new non-steroidal contraceptives and iii) treatments designed to delay of the depletion of the ovarian reserve of follicles, thus the delay of the onset of menopause. We believe that a better understanding of the spatiotemporal gene expression and biological actions of the BMP system in the ovary may help clinicians find a role for the BMPs in the diagnosis and treatment of reproductive disorders that affect human fertility.

    Our research protocols utilize molecular, cellular and biochemical approaches as well as genetics to study how specific growth factors regulate granulosa cell function, to identify the spatiotemporal expression patterns of ovarian genes throughout the reproductive cycle, to elucidate the signal transduction pathways of growth factors in granulosa cells and to study communication pathways between oocytes and somatic cells which are important for normal ovarian function.



Recent Publications

  • Cook-Andersen H, Curnow KJ, Su HI, Chang RJ, Shimasaki S. Growth and differentiation factor 9 promotes oocyte growth at the primary but not the early secondary stage in three-dimensional follicle culture. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2016 Aug; 33(8):1067-77. PMID: 27155601.
  • Kauffman AS, Thackray VG, Ryan GE, Tolson KP, Glidewell-Kenney CA, Semaan SJ, Poling MC, Iwata N, Breen KM, Duleba AJ, Stener-Victorin E, Shimasaki S, Webster NJ, Mellon PL. A Novel Letrozole Model Recapitulates Both the Reproductive and Metabolic Phenotypes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Female Mice. Biol Reprod. 2015 Sep; 93(3):69. PMID: 26203175.
  • Shayya RF, Rosencrantz MA, Chuan SS, Cook-Andersen H, Roudebush WE, Irene Su H, Shimasaki S, Chang RJ. Decreased inhibin B responses following recombinant human chorionic gonadotropin administration in normal women and women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril. 2014 Jan; 101(1):275-9. PMID: 24188875.
  • Hoang YD, McTavish KJ, Chang RJ, Shimasaki S. Paracrine regulation of theca androgen production by granulosa cells in the ovary. Fertil Steril. 2013 Aug; 100(2):561-7. PMID: 23706336.
  • Miyoshi T, Otsuka F, Shimasaki S. GRK-6 mediates FSH action synergistically enhanced by estrogen and the oocyte in rat granulosa cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 May 3; 434(2):401-6. PMID: 23583200

For a complete list of publications go to: