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 and Director of Basic
Research 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. 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 is currently Director of the CIHR
Training Program in Reproduction, Early Development, and the Impact on Health
(REDIH), and Chair of the federal Stem Cell Oversight Committee. He previously
served on 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.
M Kooistra, JM Trasler, and JM Baltz (2013). Folate transport in mouse cumulus-oocyte
complexes and preimplantation embryos. Biol. Reprod. 89: 63, 1-9. Commentary: MRW Mann and AJ Watson, Biol.
Reprod. 89: 62,1-2.
C 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:
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.
G FitzHarris, V Siyanov, and JM Baltz (2007). Granulosa cells
regulate oocyte intracellular pH against acidosis in preantral follicles by
multiple mechanisms. Development 134:4283-4295.