The decline in dairy cattle reproductive performance over the past few decades has caused large economic losses, slowed genetic progress, and impaired efficiency and sustainability of the dairy industry. The phenomenon has been amply described but the underlying causes are only partially understood, and possible solutions are few and limited. The research in our laboratory focuses on stressors that deleteriously affect cow reproduction, with a particular emphasis on the female and male gametes.
The two main disrupting stressors include seasonal thermal stress and environmental pollutants. These are of special importance to the Israeli dairy industry, because of its geographical location in a hot region and its dependence on recycled wastewater. Another studied stressor is mastitis— a pathogenic stress that is associated with environmental pathogens.
The work in our lab makes use of in-vivo and in-vitro experimental approaches to explore physiological, cellular and molecular alterations. The problem-solving components are based on Prof. Roth previous studies and consist of hormonal administration targeted to improving fertility in stressed animals. Finally, our research is adding to the knowledge of reproductive functions in stressed animals, and is having a significant impact on the dairy industry.
* Examination of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying disruptions in gametes
(oocytes and sperm)
* Evaluation of early embryonic development.
* Examination of morphological and molecular aspects of early preimplantation embryos.
* Use of complementary experimental models (in-vivo, in-vitro and ex-vivo).
* Use of advanced, clinical and variety of technological methods.
* Finally, the applied part of the research includes establishing new approaches
and novel strategies that could potentially have practical applications in the dairy.