Richard J. Oko, Ph.D

Richard J. Oko

Faculty Bio

Our research is focused on the developmental biology of specialized mammalian sperm head and tail components and their roles during fertilization. In the sperm head we are identifying proteins making up the perinuclear theca (PT). We as well as others have implicated the PT in a number of cellular processes such as acrosome formation during spermiogenesis and egg activation during fertilization. Our objectives are to gain a mechanistic insight into these processes by characterizing the PT proteins. We are also characterizing the proteins of the inner acrosomal membrane to find out how these proteins are involved in sperm penetration through the zona pellucida of the oocyte. In the sperm tail we are characterizing the outer dense fibers and the fibrous sheath proteins and exploring their mode of assembly. In summary, using morphological, biochemical and molecular approaches we are studying how novel sperm proteins are involved in germ cell differentiation and in fertilization.

Last Modified: 2015-02-28