Our Focus:

Mature mammalian oocytes (eggs) have a unique ability to program early embryogenesis. But during a normal life cycle, only a small number of mature oocytes are produced. For example, in humans, primary oocytes that differentiate in the fetal  ovary serve as the only source for sustaining egg production in adulthood. Most primary oocytes remain quiescent in the adult ovary, and only less than 1% of the primary oocytes can develop into mature eggs throughout a female reproductive lifespan. Moreover, a drastic decline in egg quality in young/middle age women lead to a significantly increased chance of abnormal embryos and infertility.

 The research in the Lei lab focuses on addressing the following significant questions of mammalian oogenesis:
1) How do mammalian oocytes acquire the ability to program early embryogenesis during oocyte formation?
2) What underlies the quiescence in primary oocytes?
3) What are the key molecular components determining egg quality?
4) What are the cellular origins of ovarian cancer?

The long-term goal of our research is to uncover pathological causes of ovarian diseases (premature ovarian failure, ovarian cancer); explore new strategies for improving egg quality; and effective approaches for maintaining or restoring normal ovarian function in female cancer patients.





Lab News

June 2018
Nafisa's bioart has been accepted for the 2018 BioArtography Collection!

April 2018
Congratulations to Nafisa for being admitted to the PIBS granduate program in the UM

September 2017
Welcome to the lab rotation students; Julie Kibui, Renee Conway, Mara Harwood, Kenneth Trieu, and Veerin Sirihorachai!

August 2017
Congrats Kanako on receiving The 2018 Overseas Research Fellow award by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Great job! 

May 2017
Congrats Lab on being awarded the CDB Beattie Award in Stem Cell Biology! 

February 2017
Congrats Lei, Kanako, and Nafisa on publishing a review paper on 

Organelle Transport during Mouse Oocyte Differentiation in Germline Cysts. Read it here!!


December 2016 Congrats Kanako! She received the Uehara Memorial Foundation research Fellowship. 

September 2016
Welcome, Bridget Waas, our rotation student for the semester!  
Welcome Haley Abbot and Allison Spihlman! Our new research technician and undergraduate research assistant. 

July 2016
Welcome, Lisa Pinatti! She is the Lab's first rotation student joining us for the summer.  

June 2016
Congrats Lei! The lab has been awarded a Jones Foundation Young Investigators Achievement Award! Only one award is granted each year to foster the career development of a young research faculty investigator working in the field of reproductive medicine. 

Lab Openings


1) A postdoc. position is open!


2) Lei Lab is currently accepting rotation students for the upcoming school year.

3) Undergraduate Research Scholar Opportunity