Research Summary

Our work focuses on three interrelated questions: do all developing germ cells have equal potential to give rise to functional eggs or sperm; how do environmental inputs affect germ cells during development, and what is the role of germ cells in ovarian and systemic aging? Using mouse models, human cells, and naked mole rats, we explore these questions in the real-world contexts of germ cell tumors (teratomas), exposures to chemicals and psychosocial stress as well as genetic causes of infertility such as Fragile X Primary Ovarian Insufficiency. Our work spans the fields of epigenetics, developmental and stem cell biology, and cancer biology. We are also part of the P30 Center for Environmental Research and Translation for Health (EaRTH) at UCSF. As a federally-funded lab in a public university, our broad mission is to advance knowledge toward improving human health, provide research training for students and postdoctoral fellows, and promote public awareness of science.

Research Funding

  • January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2022 - Using the Ovary to Hack Aging , . Sponsor: W.M. Keck Foundation, Sponsor Award ID:
  • September 15, 2017 - August 31, 2022 - The intersection of stress and environmental chemicals in germ cell reprogramming , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01ES028212
  • December 26, 2017 - November 30, 2021 - Fmr1 Function and Repeat Expansion in the Developing Germline , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01GM122902
  • August 29, 2013 - July 31, 2017 - Assessing transgenerational effects of Phthalates on primordial germ cells , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R21ES023297


Stanford University, Stanford, CA, Ph.D., 03/2003, Biological Sciences
Sloan Kettering Institute, New York, NY, Postdoc, 12/2007, Developmental Genetics

Honors & Awards

  • 1990
    Tektronix Scholarship for undergraduates Tektronix Corporation (Beaverton, Oregon)
  • 1997
    NSF Predoctoral Fellowship in Biology National Science Foundation
  • 2002
    Keystone Symposium Scholarship Keystone Foundation
  • 2004
    Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fellowship Jane Coffin Childs Foundation
  • 2008
    Junior Faculty Startup Award Sandler Foundation
  • 2010
    Early Career Award Hellman Foundation
  • 2010
    New Innovator Award (DP2) NIH
  • 2016
    Deleage Prize for Young Investigators Deleage Foundation, UCSF
  • 2019
    W.M. Keck Foundation Award for Medical Research

Selected Publications

  1. Gökbuget D, Lenshoek K, Boileau RM, Bayerl J, Huang H, Wiita AP, Laird DJ, Blelloch R. Transcriptional repression upon S phase entry protects genome integrity in pluripotent cells. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2023 Sep 11.  View on PubMed
  2. Cincotta SA, Richardson N, Foecke MH, Laird DJ. Differential susceptibility of male and female germ cells to glucocorticoid-mediated signaling. bioRxiv. 2023 Jul 21.  View on PubMed
  3. Samuel RM, Navickas A, Maynard A, Gaylord EA, Garcia K, Bhat S, Majd H, Richter MN, Elder N, Le D, Nguyen P, Shibata B, Llabata ML, Selleri L, Laird DJ, Darmanis S, Goodarzi H, Fattahi F. Generation of Schwann cell derived melanocytes from hPSCs identifies pro-metastatic factors in melanoma. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 07.  View on PubMed
  4. Bayerl J, Laird DJ. Eggs made from male mouse stem cells using error-prone culture. Nature. 2023 03; 615(7954):805-807.  View on PubMed
  5. Brieño-Enríquez MA, Faykoo-Martinez M, Goben M, Grenier JK, McGrath A, Prado AM, Sinopoli J, Wagner K, Walsh PT, Lopa SH, Laird DJ, Cohen PE, Wilson MD, Holmes MM, Place NJ. Postnatal oogenesis leads to an exceptionally large ovarian reserve in naked mole-rats. Nat Commun. 2023 02 21; 14(1):670.  View on PubMed
  6. Prasasya RD, Caldwell BA, Liu Z, Wu S, Leu NA, Fowler JM, Cincotta SA, Laird DJ, Kohli RM, Bartolomei MS. TET1 Catalytic Activity is Required for Reprogramming of Imprinting Control Regions and Patterning of Sperm-Specific Hypomethylated Regions. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 21.  View on PubMed
  7. Soygur B, Foecke MH, Gaylord EA, Fries A, Li J, Arora R, Laird DJ. A Roadmap for Three-Dimensional Analysis of the Intact Mouse Ovary. Methods Mol Biol. 2023; 2677:203-219.  View on PubMed
  8. Soygur B, Laird DJ. Ovary Development: Insights From a Three-Dimensional Imaging Revolution. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021; 9:698315.  View on PubMed
  9. Nguyen DH, Laird DJ. Natural selection at the cellular level: insights from male germ cell differentiation. Cell Death Differ. 2021 07; 28(7):2296-2299.  View on PubMed
  10. Soygur B, Jaszczak RG, Fries A, Nguyen DH, Malki S, Hu G, Demir N, Arora R, Laird DJ. Intercellular bridges coordinate the transition from pluripotency to meiosis in mouse fetal oocytes. Sci Adv. 2021 04; 7(15).  View on PubMed
  11. Nguyen DH, Soygur B, Peng SP, Malki S, Hu G, Laird DJ. Apoptosis in the fetal testis eliminates developmentally defective germ cell clones. Nat Cell Biol. 2020 12; 22(12):1423-1435.  View on PubMed
  12. Steven Anthony Cincotta, Diana Laird. MON-LB130 Glucocorticoid Receptor Signaling and Stress in the Developing Mammalian Germline. Journal of the Endocrine Society. 2020 May 8; 4(Suppl 1).  View on PubMed
  13. Wall E, Scoles J, Joo A, Klein O, Quinonez C, Bush JO, Martin GR, Laird DJ. The UCSF Mouse Inventory Database Application, an Open Source Web App for Sharing Mutant Mice Within a Research Community. G3 (Bethesda). 2020 05 04; 10(5):1503-1510.  View on PubMed
  14. DiTroia SP, Percharde M, Guerquin MJ, Wall E, Collignon E, Ebata KT, Mesh K, Mahesula S, Agathocleous M, Laird DJ, Livera G, Ramalho-Santos M. Maternal vitamin C regulates reprogramming of DNA methylation and germline development. Nature. 2019 09; 573(7773):271-275.  View on PubMed
  15. Nguyen DH, Jaszczak RG, Laird DJ. Heterogeneity of primordial germ cells. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2019; 135:155-201.  View on PubMed
  16. Reznik B, Cincotta SA, Jaszczak RG, Mateo LJ, Shen J, Cao M, Baskin L, Ye P, An W, Laird DJ. Heterogeneity of transposon expression and activation of the repressive network in human fetal germ cells. Development. 2019 02 01; 146(12).  View on PubMed
  17. Laird DJ. How to lose your inheritance. Nature. 2018 10; 562(7728):497-498.  View on PubMed
  18. Susman MW, Karuna EP, Kunz RC, Gujral TS, Cantú AV, Choi SS, Jong BY, Okada K, Scales MK, Hum J, Hu LS, Kirschner MW, Nishinakamura R, Yamada S, Laird DJ, Jao LE, Gygi SP, Greenberg ME, Ho HH. Kinesin superfamily protein Kif26b links Wnt5a-Ror signaling to the control of cell and tissue behaviors in vertebrates. Elife. 2017 09 08; 6.  View on PubMed
  19. Cantú AV, Laird DJ. A pilgrim's progress: Seeking meaning in primordial germ cell migration. Stem Cell Res. 2017 10; 24:181-187.  View on PubMed
  20. Whitaker AT, Berthet E, Cantu A, Laird DJ, Alliston T. Smad4 regulates growth plate matrix production and chondrocyte polarity. Biol Open. 2017 Mar 15; 6(3):358-364.  View on PubMed

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