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Animal & Dairy Science: Personnel

Franklin D. West

Assistant ProfessorFranklin West Photo

B.S., Morehouse College
Ph.D., University of Georgia

Edgar L. Rhodes Center for ADS
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-2771

Phone: 706/542-0988
Fax: 706/542-0399


Research Interests

Reproductive challenges in both human and livestock populations are of significant concern and are often a direct result of abnormal germ cell (oocyte and sperm) development. Aberrant germ cell development significantly affects human fertility, is the leading cause of early pregnancy loss and results in birth defects such as Down’s syndrome and Klinefelter’s. Failed gametogenesis in livestock has significantly increased because of intense selection for commercial traits and decreased emphasis on reproductive success. Livestock sub-fertility and sterility, spontaneous fetal abortion, decrease litter size and abnormal offspring have all been linked to errors in germ cell development and are a significant source of lost potential income. To address aberrant germ cell development, my lab has developed novel technologies enabling systematic study of gametogenesis in humans and livestock including 1) A robust in vitro pluripotent stem cell to germ cell differentiation culture system capable of generating large numbers of germ like-cells and 2) the development of the only known chimera competent porcine induced pluripotent stem cell line. Utilizing stem cells and advanced molecular and genetic tools, we can address our long term goal of identifying and understand germ cell regulatory signaling in humans and domestic livestock species that could provide invaluable insight into the mechanistic causes of abnormal gametogenesis. Studying important germ cell signaling in human and livestock stem cell derived germ cells may one day lead to the discovery of new targets for drug and toxicology screens, a better understanding of the etiology of diseases caused by errors in germ cell differentiation or even assisted reproductive technologies in domestic livestock species.

Selected Recent Publications

  1. "Glial Cell-line Derived Neurotrophic Factor Enhances in vitro Differentiation of Mid/hindbrain Neural Progenitor Cells to Dopaminergic-like Neurons." A. Young, K. Assey, C. Sturkie, F. D. West, D. Machacek, S. Stice. Journal of Neuroscience Research. Accepted.
  2. “Porcine Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Produce Chimeric Offspring.” F. D. West, S. L. Terlouw, D. Kwon, J. L. Mumaw, S. K. Dhara, K. Hasneen, J. R. Dobrinsky and S. L. Stice. Stem Cells and Development. [Epub ahead of print 2010 Apr 9]
  3.  “Lineage-Specific Promoter DNA Methylation Patterns Segregate Adult Progenitor Cell Types.” A. L. Sorensen, S. Timoskainen, F. D. West, K. Vekterude, A. C. Boquest, L. Ahrlund-Richter, S. L. Stice and P. Collas. Stem Cells and Development. [Epub ahead of print 2009 Nov 3].
  4. “KIT ligand and bone morphogenetic protein signaling enhances human embryonic stem cell to germ-like cell differentiation.” F. D. West, M. I. Roche-Rios, S. Abraham, R. R. Rao, M. S. Natrajan, Bacanamwo, M and S. L. Stice. Human Reproduction. 2010 Jan 25 (1): 168-78 [Epub ahead of print 2009 Oct 19].
  5. “Human Embryonic Stem Cell Derived Mesoderm-like Epithelium Transitions to Mesenchymal Progenitor Cells.” N.L. Boyd, K.R. Robbins, S.K. Dhara, F.D. West, S.L. Stice. Tissue Engineering. 2009 Aug 15 (8): 1897-907.
  6. “Enrichment and Differentiation of Human Germ-like Cells Mediated by Feeder Cells and Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor Signaling.” Franklin D. West, David W. Machacek, Nolan L. Boyd, Kurinji Pandiyan, Kelly R. Robbins, and Steven L. Stice. Stem Cells. 2008 Nov 26 (11): 2768-76 [Epub ahead of print 2008 Aug 21].
  7. “BMP4 Promotes Formation of Primitive Vascular Networks in Human Embryonic Stem Cell Derived Embryoid Bodies.”  N.L. Boyd, S.K. Dhara, R. Rekaya, E.A. Godbey, K. Hasneen, R.R. Rao, F.D. West III, B.A. Gerwe, S.L. Stice.  Experimental Biology and Medicine.  2007 Jun 232:833-43.
  8. “Uniform adherent neural progenitor populations from rhesus embryonic stem cells.”  Deanne Tibbitts, Raj R. Rao, Soojung Shin, Franklin D. West and Steven L. Stice.  Stem Cells and Development.   2006 Apr. 15: 200-208.      
University of Georgia (UGA) College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)