Shelley K. Stevens
I’m interested in environmental epigenetics and epigenetic inheritance, tissue engineering and infectious disease.
Postdoctoral Fellow – Syracuse University 2012 – present
Ph.D. – Microbiology and Immunology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 2007
B.S. – Biochemistry, Syracuse University, 2000
In organisms from insects to humans, sperm cells carry and transfer more than just DNA to the egg. Proteins, RNAs, including small RNAs and long non-coding RNAs, and other non-genetic and epigenetic information is transferred to the oocyte at fertilization. The function these sperm components play in spermatogenesis or during early embryonic development is largely unknown, although some epigenetic markers in sperm, including miRNAs are thought to be inherited across multiple generations. Growing evidence in other systems suggests miRNAs are plastic in nature and can be altered by a variety of factors including diet, stress, smoking, and exposure to environmental toxicants. In humans, altered sperm miRNAs are also linked to infertility. We are using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system to define and study sperm proteins and miRNAs to gain a better understanding of their roles in regulating sperm development, sperm function, and during early development.