Melissa E. Pepling

Professor, Biology


  • Ph.D., SUNY Stony Brook (1995)
  • M.S., Adelphi University (1988)
  • B.S., Cornell University (1985)

Research Interests

Regulation of mouse oocyte development; Hormone signaling in oocyte differentiation.


  • BIO 425: Cell & Developmental Biology Laboratory
  • BIO 503: Developmental Biology

Selected Publications

  • Dutta, S., Mark-Kappeler, C.J., Hoyer, P. B. and Pepling, M.E. (2014) The Steroid Hormone Environment during Primordial Follicle Formation in Perinatal Mouse Ovaries. Biology of Reproduction, in press.
  • Sivakumar, K.K., Stanley, J.A., Arosh, J.A., Pepling, M.E., Burghardt, R.C. and Banu, S. (2014) Prenatal Exposure to Chromium induces Early Reproductive Senescence by increasing Germ Cell Apoptosis and advancing Germ Cell Cyst Breakdown in the F1 Offspring. Developmental Biology 388, 22-34.
  • Jones, R.L. and Pepling, M.E. (2013) Kit Signaling is Involved in Murine Primordial Follicle Formation. Developmental Biology 382, 186-197.
  • Jones, R.L. and Pepling, M.E. (2013) Role of the Anti-Apoptotic Proteins BCL2 and MCL1 in the Neonatal Mouse Ovary. Biology of Reproduction 88(2):46, 1-8.
  • Karavan, J. and Pepling, M.E., (2012) Effects of Estrogenic Compounds on Neonatal Oocyte Development. Reproductive Toxicology 34, 51-56.
  • Pepling, M.E. (2012) Follicular Assembly: Mechanisms of Action. Reproduction 143, 139-149.

Research Spotlight


The Pepling Lab specializes in the study of oocytes (female germ cells), hormone signaling, and ovarian organ culture.

The pool of primordial follicles present at birth represents the total population of germ cells available to a female during her entire reproductive life. Establishment of this source of oocytes is absolutely essential for fertility. Shortly after forming, female germ cells undergo a series of incomplete cell divisions resulting in clusters called cysts. Just after birth, mouse germ cell cysts break down into individual oocytes that are surrounded by pre-granulosa cells to form primordial follicles. During cyst breakdown, a subset of oocytes in each cyst dies by programmed cell death with only a third of the initial number of oocytes surviving. The long-term goal of Dr. Pepling's research is to understand the mechanisms that regulate cyst breakdown and programmed cell death to establish the primordial follicle pool in the mouse ovary.