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Nathan Treff


Nathan R. Treff, PhD - Director of Molecular Biology Research & Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey

Dr. Treff is the Director for the REI division’s Molecular Genetics Basic Science Research Laboratory and an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ. Dr. Treff’s background is in biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics with emphasis in reproductive and stem cell biology. He obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Washington State University and conducted postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and The Serono Reproductive Biology Institute.

The bulk of his research is in molecular genetics including genome-wide microarray analysis of gene expression and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), chromatin immunoprecipitation, electrophoretic mobility shift, northern blot assays, quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, short tandem repeat and SNP genetic fingerprinting, protein-antibody array, western blot, ELISA, cloning and sequencing, protein and nucleic acid purification, single cell whole genome and transcriptome amplification, and systematic gene ontology analysis of gene expression.

Dr. Treff has a variety of research skills in cellular biology including embryonic stem cell culture and directed differentiation, magnetic activated cell sorting, stable recombinant cell line transfection and selection, and conventional tissue culture of eukaryotic cell lines. Dr. Treff has developed and led a new molecular biology research team towards improving the treatment of infertility. His scientific contributions were acknowledged at the 2007 ASRM meeting in Washington, DC where the REI division received the “ASRM Prize Paper Award”. He is dedicated to education and advancement in reproductive medicine, and to facilitating basic and translational research using state-of-the-art molecular biology approaches.

Project: Predicting Reproductive Potential from the Maternal Exome

Although the well-established maternal age related increase in aneuploidy and decrease in reproductive potential is inevitable, there remains a significant variation in embryonic aneuploidy rates produced by women of the same age and across all ages.  Therefore, age alone is poorly predictive of a specific female’s reproductive potential.  Importantly, some women are at an increased risk of producing an aneuploid conception at a younger than usual age, while others are more capable of producing euploid embryos at an older than usual age.  DNA from women at these two extremes could provide a powerful and unique opportunity to identify predictive genetic variants.  We have collected DNA from over 4,000 women, each with previously determined levels of embryonic aneuploidy using a validated method of comprehensive chromosome screening.  This resource is currently not available anywhere else in the world.  Given that over 80% of genetic disorders are explained by mutations in the protein coding portion of the genome, we will sequence the exome of 350 cases and 350 controls from this population in order to complete an appropriately powered study to efficiently identify variants associated with maternal reproductive potential.  This study could result in a groundbreaking diagnostic tool to help all women (half the population) prevent infertility by seeking treatment according to their predicted genetic risks.  In addition, this companion diagnostic biomarker could drive clinical fertility management decisions to significantly improve the overall take-home baby rate from in vitro fertilization.