The major research interest of Dr. Radovick's laboratory is to determine the mechanism of the onset of puberty and reprodutive cyclicity. Her research is focused on determining the regulation of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) gene, which has a central role in reproduction by controlling pituitary secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which in turn regulate the synthesis of gonadal estrogen and androgen. Her group was one of the first to generate GnRH-expressing neuronal cell-lines and map GnRH cell-specific gene promoter elements in vivo. This is a major step in the ability to investigate the detailed control of the regulation of this component of the reproductive system. Laboratory manipulation of these cell lines with growth factors and sex steroids has further increased knowledge of the relationship between growth and puberty. Dr. Radovick's laboratory demonstrated that the GnRH gene is the target of growth factor and nuclear hormone signaling pathways, which link nutrition and growth with pubertal development and reproduction. She has progressed to development of genetically modified mouse models to elucidate mechanisms of pulsatile and modulated secretion of (GnRH) in response to neuroendocrine and growth factor stimulation and sex steroid feedback regulation. Of particular interest has been to determine the roles of neurotransmitter/hormone receptors in mediating the large increase in GnRH secretion to adult levels at puberty, which results in the attainment of fertility. These studies will provide insights into human reproductive disorders well as future therapies for infertility.
The other major area of this research has been to characterize the transcription factors important for normal pituitary development. Her initial studies provided the first description in man of the molecular genetic mechanism for combined pituitary hormone deficiency; this involved a mutation in the Pit-1 gene that is necessary for the differentiation of the somatotroph (growth hormone-producing cell), lactotroph (prolactin), and thyrotroph (thyrotropin) lineages. She has gone on to describe the mechanisms by which novel mutations in other pituitary-specific transcription factors responsible for anterior pituitary hormone deficiencies in man.
Dr. Radovick has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and has been continually funded by the NIH since 1990. Dr. Radovick's most notable teaching efforts have been in training individuals for scientific research. She has trained over 50 predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty.