Medical University of South Carolina    
Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynecology    
221 Ft Johnson Rd    
Charleston, SC 29412    

Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology - MUSC

CoEE Endowed Chair in Marine Genomics - HML

Professor - Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The mechanisms by which environmental factors influence the evolution, development and functioning of the reproduction system in vertebrates is the focus of my group's research. Specifically, we work in three main areas:

  1. the influence of contaminants on the developmental genetics and reproductive biology of wildlife and humans,
  2. endangered species reproductive biology and
  3. the evolution of maternal-fetal chemical communication.

The effects of contaminants on wildlife have been studied for more than 50 years, since the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Our work over the last decade and a half has focused on the ability of environmental contaminants to mimic chemical messengers (hormones) and alter gene expression and functioning of the reproductive and endocrine systems. Although considered rare until a decade ago, evidence that many types of chemicals (some pesticides, industrial chemicals and personal care products), alter the signaling systems in our bodies and those of wildlife is now common. These chemicals have been widely reported as "Environmental Estrogens" but have numerous actions beyond mimicry of estrogenic hormones. (more information on our work).

I also have an active program in the mentoring of research, working with graduate studnets and undergraduates interested in biology and environmental issues. This program is funded, in part, by a Professorship form the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Undergraduate students discover biology by actively working with graduate students on research projects. For more information on the research programs in my lab, go to the Research bar above.

Lou and an adult alligator following a health check and sample collection to test for environmental contaminants and hormones.

Alligator picture

Photo by Lou Guillette at Paynes Prairie State Park near Gainesville, FL. To see some of my other photos, chick below.

Lou's Wildlife Photos