A research scientist at SIU School of Medicine has received a Michelson Grant to pursue an innovative approach to nonsurgical animal sterilization.

Prema Narayan, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology at the School of Medicine in Carbondale, received a three-year grant from the Found Animals Foundation’s Michelson Prize & Grants in Reproductive Biology totaling $581,287.

Her project, “Targeting the luteinizing hormone receptor to induce infertility” aims to develop a single-dose, nonsurgical sterilant for cats and dogs. She is studying a receptor found predominantly in ovaries and testes, known as the luteinizing hormone receptor. This receptor is vital for fertility.

“Our hypothesis is that selective ablation of cells in the gonads that express LHR will result in sterility for both males and females,” Narayan said in a news release.

Her lab will create an immuno-toxin containing a hormone called chorionic gonadotropin. This material will be tested as a novel sterilant, or chemical agent, that will function by removing gonadal cells with LHR.

The project could result in a nonsurgical approach for animal sterilization.

“Availability of a single-dose sterilant that can be administered in a shelter will be cheaper than surgery, may increase the chances of the animal being adopted, and prevent unnecessary euthanasia of companion animals,” Narayan said.

Michelson Grants are awarded to researchers in pursuit of an innovative approach to nonsurgical animal sterilization. The $25 million Michelson Prize will be awarded to the first entity to provide the foundation with a single-dose, permanent, nonsurgical sterilant that is safe and effective in male and female cats and dogs.

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