Patricia A. DeLeon

Department of Biological Sciences

University of Delaware

219 McKinly Lab
Newark, DE 19716-2590

Phone: (302) 831-2249
Fax: (302) 831-228

  • Ph.D., Microscopic Anatomy, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada, 1972
    M.Sc. Medical Genetics, University of the West Indies, 1969
    B.Sc. (Hon) Chemistry and Zoology, University of the West Indies, 1967

Research Overview:

Dr. DeLeonā€™s group is interested in sperm membrane proteins and the genes that regulate them. Genetic and molecular biological approaches are being used to study the reproductive hyaluronidases, exemplified byĀ SpermĀ adhesionĀ moleculeĀ 1Ā (SPAM1) which is a glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked membrane protein with multifunctional roles in mammalian fertilization. Importantly, the mechanisms by which these and other GPI-linked proteins expressed in the male and female tract are delivered to the sperm surface are being studied. An understanding of these mechanisms is important for assisted reproductive technology (ART).

SPAM1 is also of interest because it is over-expressed in a number of cancers. The mechanism of the mRNA up-regulation in malignancy is being investigated to identify proteins that may be therapeutic targets.

A second membrane protein,Ā JunctionalĀ adhesionĀ moleculeĀ AĀ (JAM-A) which is a tight junction protein, is being studied for its role in sperm maturation and function. The lab has shown that it is required for normal sperm motility, and an investigation of the mechanism involved is underway.

After earning the Ph.D. at the University of Western Ontario, Dr. DeLeon served as a Medical Research Council of Canada post-doctoral fellow at McGill University in Montreal from 1972-1975. She also taught at McGill in the Department of Biology before joining the faculty at the University of Delaware in 1976.