Department of OBGYN

Mellissa Mann, PhD

  • Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Cell and Development Biology, 2004
  • PhD, Zoology - The University of Toronto, 1996
  • MS, Zoology - The University of Western Ontario, 1990
  • BS, Honors Genetics - The University of Western Ontario, 1987

Representative Publications

  1. Market-Velker BA, Zhang L, Magri LS, Bonvissuto AC, Mann MRW. Dual Effects of Superovulation: Loss of maternal and paternal imprinted methylation in a dose-dependent manner. Human Molecular Genetics 19:36-51. 2010.  

  2. Golding MC, Zhang L, Mann MRW. Multiple epigenetic modifiers induce aggressive viral extinction in extraembryonic endoderm stem cells. Cell Stem Cell 6:457-467. 2010. 

  3. Market Velker BA, Denomme MM, Mann MRW. Loss of Genomic Imprinting in Mouse Embryos with Fast Rates of Preimplantation Development in Culture. Biology of Reproduction 86:134-150. 2012. 

  4. White CR, Denomme MM, Tekpetey FR, Feyles V, Power SGA, Mann MRW. High frequency of imprinted methylation errors in donated human preimplantation embryos. Scientific Reports 5:17311. 2015. 

  5. MacDonald WA, Sachani SS, White CR and Mann MRW. A role for chromatin topology in imprinted domain regulation. Biochemistry and Cell Biology 99:1-13. 2015.  

  6. White CR, MacDonald WA and Mann MRW. Conservation of DNA methylation programming between mouse and human gamates and preimplantation embryos. Biology of Reproduction 95: 1-14. 2016. 

For additional publications, see

Clinical Interests/Research Interests

Research in Dr. Mellissa Mann’s laboratory focuses on molecular mechanisms that regulate genomic imprinting during gametogenesis and early embryo development.  Genomic imprinting is defined as a mechanism of transcriptional regulation that restricts expression to one parental allele. Imprinting is a multi-step process that begins in the gametes, where epigenetic modifications differentially mark the parental alleles.  These marks must then be stably maintained in the developing embryo where they are translated into parental-specific expression.  Errors in any of these stages can lead to genomic imprinting disorders, such as Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, and Silver-Russell Syndrome. The Mann lab addresses how genomic imprinting is regulated in gametes, pre- and postimplantation embryos and the three stem lineages of the early embryo using a mouse model, and a combination of genetic, molecular, and cytological tools. There are four main projects in Dr. Mann’s lab:

Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Genomic Imprinting

Children conceived by assisted reproduction technologies are at increased risk of intrauterine growth retardation, premature birth, low birth weight, and possibly genomic imprinting disorders. Dr. Mann’s research has lead the field by producing extensive and novel data showing that preimplantation development is a critical period of imprint maintenance that is susceptible to epigenetic perturbation during oocyte and embryo manipulation. Our current work will determine how hormone stimulation or embryo culture perturbs imprint maintenance.

Imprinted domain regulation

Very little is known about mechanisms that regulate genomic imprinting during early development. Using an improved lentiviral transgene delivery system, an RNAi library for epigenetic modifiers and hybrid stem cells that that we generated, we conducted a positive selection, loss of function, RNA interference screen for epigenetic factors that regulate genomic imprinting, using the Kcnq1ot1 domain as a model imprinted domain. We have identified novel candidate factors involved in imprinted gene regulation as well as discovered a novel mechanism of imprinted domain regulation that we are currently investigating.

Role of the Kcnq1ot1 long noncoding in stem cells and early embryos

There is little information of how imprinted gene expression is established across an imprinted domain during preimplantation development and its maintenance during early postimplantation development. To better understand the regulatory events in early embryos, we are using genetic models to more precisely determine the timing of paternal allelic silencing of genes within the domain and whether the Kcnq1ot1 imprinting control region and/or the Kcnq1ot1 noncoding RNA are required for establishment and maintenance of paternal allelic silencing.

Identification of genomic imprinting control regions

An intriguing characteristic of imprinted genes is that they often cluster in large chromosomal domains that are co-ordinately regulated by cis-acting regions, known as imprinting control regions. To identify novel imprinting control regions, we have used extensive bioinformatics screening of publicly available database. Based on defined epigenetic profiles, we identified known and novel imprinting control regions. We are currently investigating these novel imprinting control regions and novel neighboring imprinted genes.