Event date:
Nov 9 2022 7:00 pm

Location and numbers: how recombination and our chemical landscape converge on meiosis

Prof. Dr. Monica P. Colaiacovo
Prof. Dr. Monica P. Colaiacovo research is focused on understanding the regulation of mechanisms that promote accurate chromosome segregation during meiosis, such as recombination, and how exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) affect these mechanisms. Errors in achieving accurate chromosome segregation during meiosis can result in the formation of aneuploid gametes (i.e., eggs and sperm carrying an incorrect number of chromosomes), which is associated with miscarriages, stillbirths, infertility, and birth defects. Our team has directly demonstrated in a metazoan (the nematode C. elegans) how the position of DNA double-strand breaks and crossover recombination events are critical for accurate chromosome segregation and how exposure to an abundantly used plasticizer (DEHP) alters this regulation. Ongoing studies are examining what factors regulate the distribution of recombination events and how other EDCs differentially affect female and male meiosis, leading to embryonic lethality and infertility.

After a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology at Brandeis University, Monica Colaiácovo joined Dr. Anne Villeneuve’s laboratory at Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow. Colaiácovo is currently a Professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School researching the mechanisms that promote accurate chromosome segregation during meiosis and that are therefore essential for reproductive health. Studies on checkpoint mechanisms regulating meiotic progression in the Colaiácovo lab were supported by the Armenise Harvard Junior Faculty Grant in 2008-2010.