Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Annual Faculty Lecture Explores Hormone Leptin, Female Reproductive Health

Kleberg Ag, Rm. 102 - 04/17/14 - 04/17/14

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or

Leptin is a hormone made by fat tissue that was discovered in 1994, and found to have a link to food intake and body weight. It became known as “the obese gene” because of its ability to act on the brain and satiate—or satisfy—one’s hunger. 

Two years later, leptin was found in ovarian tissue. Research efforts discovered that the hormone was more than “the obesity gene” – it was found to be critical in maintaining a pregnancy and overall female reproductive health. When there was a deficiency in leptin, infertility and morbid obesity were the by-products. 

Initial thoughts were that leptin was involved with regulating progesterone, a key hormone in the female reproductive system. When that was found to not be the case, leptin research tied to reproductive health dropped off. 

Dr. Michelle R. Garcia, an associate professor in the Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, still thought leptin was worth studying. She began her examination of the hormone in 2007, and in that time, she has found that leptin is actually regulating blood vessels—as seen in the ovary, the placenta and within bone marrow. 

By observing leptin at work in goats—whose slower-functioning reproductive system lends itself to research—Garcia is hopeful that the hormone could lead to a number of important advances. Some of them include using leptin as a safe supplement for pregnant women, for reducing tumors, and in treating diabetes. 

Garcia will discuss her research for the general public at the 34th Annual Faculty Lecture, happening at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in room 102 of the Kleberg Agriculture Building, on the A&M-Kingsville campus. 

The public is invited to attend this free event. Food and drink will be served at a reception following the lecture, in the lobby of the Kleberg Ag Building. 

The title of the lecture is Ovarian Infertility: The Corpus Luteum and Leptin

The Faculty Lecturer is selected each year by committee within the university’s Faculty Senate.           

About Michelle R. Garcia

            Michelle R. Garcia has been either a principal investigator or program director for 13 grants earned from agencies that include the USDA, NIH and the University Research Council. 

            Garcia has received a number of professional awards, including the Texas A&M University System Teaching Excellence Award; the Texas A&M University AgriLife Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence; and the Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Jr. Teaching and Research Awards. 

            Her professional memberships include the American Society of Animal Science, the American Physiology Society, The Endocrine Society and the Society for the Study of Reproduction.

This page was last updated on: April 03, 2014