Senior Scientist, Chronic Disease Program
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Ottawa
Cross-appointed, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of Ottawa
My laboratory works on mammalian oocyte growth and maturation and early
embryo development. At the time a new life begins, the egg and embryo change
very rapidly, virtually becoming a completely different organism every few
hours. We are particularly interested in the physiological alterations that
occur to accommodate the constantly changing nature of the egg and embryo and
their implications for the health of the embryo and offspring. We want to
understand the precisely-choreographed activation and deactivation of the array
of transporters and other physiological mechanisms needed to supply the
constantly changing needs of the egg and embryo during these earliest stages of
development, and understand what can go wrong. Overall, we hope to add to our
knowledge of the physiological processes important to mammalian eggs and
embryos at the very beginning of life. We believe that this type of research
will help improve the health of babies and the treatment of infertility through
research leading to the development of improved techniques for producing
healthy oocytes and embryos.
Dr. Baltz received his B.A. in Physics from the
University of Pennsylvania, a Ph.D. in Biophysics from The Johns Hopkins
University, and postdoctoral training with Dr. John Biggers at Harvard Medical
School. Dr. Baltz is now Associate Scientific Director and a Senior Scientist
at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and Professor in the Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Ottawa, as well as being
cross-appointed in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. He is a
member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology
Society, where he serves as Treasurer. Dr. Baltz has received an Ontario
Premier's Research Excellence Award, a James Shannon Award from the US National
Institutes of Health, and has been a Medical Council of Canada Scholar. He has
served as Director of the CIHR Training Program in Reproduction, Early
Development, and the Impact on Health (REDIH), as Chair of the federal Stem
Cell Oversight Committee, as a member of the CIHR Institute of Human Development,
Child and Youth Health Institute Advisory Board, and as Director of the Program
on Oocyte Health, a Strategic Initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research (CIHR) Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health. Dr.
Baltz is a specialist in the field of reproduction and developmental biology,
where he has published extensively in the areas of preimplantation embryo
development and egg development in the ovary.
B Zhang, MM Denomme, CR White, KY Leung, MB
Lee, NDE Greene, MRW Mann, JM Trasler, and JM Baltz (2015). Both the folate
cycle and betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase contribute methyl groups for
DNA methylation in mouse blastocysts. FASEB J. 29: 1069-79.
S Richard and JM Baltz (2014). Prophase I
arrest of mouse oocytes mediated by natriuretic peptide precursor C requires
GJA1 (connexin-43) and GJA4 (connexin-37) gap junctions in the antral follicle
and cumulus-oocyte complex. Biol. Reprod. 90: 137, 1-10.
Zhou, G FitzHarris, SL Alper, and JM Baltz (2013). Na+/H+ exchange is
inactivated during mouse oocyte meiosis, facilitating glycine accumulation that
maintains embryo cell volume. J. Cell. Physiol. 228: 2042-2053.
MB Lee, M Kooistra, B Zhang, S Slow, AL Fortier,
TA Garrow, M Lever, JM Trasler, and JM Baltz (2012). Betaine Homocysteine Methyltransferase
is active in the mouse blastocyst and promotes inner cell mass development. J.
Biol. Chem. 287:33094-33103.
AP Tartia, N Rudraraju, T Richards, MA Hammer, P
Talbot, and JM Baltz (2009). Cell volume regulation is initiated in mouse
oocytes after ovulation. Development 136: 2247-2254.
Diseases, conditions and populations of interest
Research and clinical approaches
Molecular and cellular biology