Reproductive Biology and Wildlife Conservation
Director, Cornell Center for Wildlife Conservation
Baker Institute for Animal Health
Graduate Group: Cell and Molecular Biology
Thesis Topic: Characterization, targeting and functional analyses of male germ cell-specific isoforms of type I hexokinase in the mouse
Dr. Travis' laboratory primarily studies the compartmentalization of signaling and metabolic pathways in male germ cells. They focus on two major areas: the organization and function of membrane micro-domains in the plasma membrane, and the regulation fo the glycolytic machinery that is assembled along a cytoskeletal element in the principle piece of the sperm flagellum. Studies are designed not only to provide basic understanding of cell biological principles such as targeting and scaffolding of effector pathways, but also to provide insight into how specific stimuli which the sperm require in order to fertilize an egg are actually transduced into the changes within the sperm cell that confer functional competency. Applications for which they hold patents include diagnostic assays for male fertility, and energy production on nanoscale hybrid organic-inorganic devices. In addition, the Travis lab sutides new technologies of assisted reproduction such as testis xenografting and spermatogonial stem cell transplantation in carnivores to increase the utility of these models for biomedical studies for wildlife conservation. They recently performed the first successful spermatogonial stem cell transplantation in dogs. Dr. Travis is also the PI on a multi-disciplinary project designed to test and optimize a landscape-scale approach to conservation that uses markets to link improvements in food security and rural livelihoods with biodiversity conservation outcomes in Zambia.
Dr. Travis was a recipient of the NIH Pioneer Award in 2009.