Franklin Delano West Associate Professor Animal & Dairy Science
Portrait of Franklin Delano West

B.S., Morehouse College
Ph.D., University of Georgia


Research Interests

Reproductive challenges in both human and livestock populations are of significant concern and are often a direct result of abnormal germ cell (oocyte and sperm) development. Aberrant germ cell development significantly affects human fertility, is the leading cause of early pregnancy loss and results in birth defects such as Down’s syndrome and Klinefelter’s. Failed gametogenesis in livestock has significantly increased because of intense selection for commercial traits and decreased emphasis on reproductive success. Livestock sub-fertility and sterility, spontaneous fetal abortion, decrease litter size and abnormal offspring have all been linked to errors in germ cell development and are a significant source of lost potential income. To address aberrant germ cell development, my lab has developed novel technologies enabling systematic study of gametogenesis in humans and livestock including 1) A robust in vitro pluripotent stem cell to germ cell differentiation culture system capable of generating large numbers of germ like-cells and 2) the development of the only known chimera competent porcine induced pluripotent stem cell line. Utilizing stem cells and advanced molecular and genetic tools, we can address our long term goal of identifying and understand germ cell regulatory signaling in humans and domestic livestock species that could provide invaluable insight into the mechanistic causes of abnormal gametogenesis. Studying important germ cell signaling in human and livestock stem cell derived germ cells may one day lead to the discovery of new targets for drug and toxicology screens, a better understanding of the etiology of diseases caused by errors in germ cell differentiation or even assisted reproductive technologies in domestic livestock species.

Selected Recent Publications

“Episomal Vector Restores LDLR Function in Monogenic Deficient iPSC-Derived Hepatocytes.” Venkat M. Ramakrishnan*, Jeong-Yeh Yang*, Braden R. Bocard, Kevin T. Tien, John G. Maijub, Patrick O. Burchell, Stuart K. Williams, Marvin E. Morris, James B. Hoying, Richard Wade-Martins, Franklin D. West, and Nolan L. Boyd. Scientific Reports. 2015 Aug 26;5:13231. *Contributed Equally to this work.

“Chimeric Non-Viral Minicircle Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Compatible with Production of Chimeric Chickens.” Ping Yu, Yangqing Lu, Brian J. Jordan4, Yubing Liu, Jeong-Yeh Yang, Jessica M. Hutcheson, Christina L. Ethridge, Jennifer L. Mumaw, Holly A. Kinder, Robert B. Beckstead, Steven L. Stice and Franklin D. West. Cellular Reprogramming. [Epub ahead of print 2014 August 1]. 2014 Oct;16(5):366-78.

“Development and Characterization of a Yucatan Miniature Biomedical Pig Permanent Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion Stroke Model. ” Simon R Platt, Shannon P Holmes, Elizabeth W Howerth, Kylee Jo J Duberstein, C Robert Dove, Holly A Kinder, Emily L Wyatt, Amie V Linville, Vivian W Lau, Steven L Stice, William D Hill, David C Hess, Franklin D West. Experimental & Translational Stroke Medicine. 2014 Mar 23;6(1):5.

“Gait Analysis in a Pre- and Post-Ischemic Stroke Biomedical Pig Model.” Kylee Jo Duberstein, Simon R. Platt, Shannon P. Holmes, C. Robert Dove, Elizabeth W. Howerth, Marc Kent, Steven L. Stice, William D. Hill, David C. Hess and Franklin D. West. Physiology & Behavior. [Epub ahead of print 2013 November 25]. 2014 Feb 10;125:8-16.

“α-1,3-Galactosyltransferase Knockout Pig Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: A Cell Source for the Production of Xenotransplant Pig.” Yubing Liu, Jeong Yeh Yang, Yangqing Lu, Ping Yu, C. Robert Dove, Jessica M. Hutcheson, Jennifer L. Mumaw, Steven L. Stice and Franklin D. West. Cellular Reprogramming. [Epub ahead of print 2013 Febuary 12]. 2013 Apr; 15 (2):107-16.

“SSEA4 Positive Pig Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Are Primed for Differentiation into Neural Cells.” Jeong-Yeh Yang, Jennifer L. Mumaw, Yubing Liu, Steve L. Stice and Franklin D. West. Cell Transplantation. [Epub ahead of print 2012 October 03]. 2013; 22 (6):945-59.

“Comparative epigenomic annotation of regulatory DNA.” Shu Xiao, Dan Xie, Xiaoyi Cao, Pengfei Yu, Xiaoyun Xing, Chieh-Chun Chen, Mingchao Xie, Franklin D. West, Harris Lewin, Ting Wang, Sheng Zhong. Cell. 2012 Jun 8; 149 (6):1381-92.

“Metabolomic Response of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Derived Germ-like Cells after Exposure to Steroid Hormones.” Franklin D. West, W. Matthew Henderson, Ping Yu, Jeong-Yeh Yang, Steven L. Stice, and Mary Alice Smith. Toxicological Sciences. [Epub ahead of print 2012 May 30]. 2012 Sep; 129 (1):9-20.

“Chimeric Pigs Produced from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Demonstrate Germline Transmission and No Evidence of Tumor Formation.” Franklin D. West, Elizabeth W. Uhl, Yubing Liu, Heather Stowe, Yangqing Lu, Ping Yu, Amalia Gallegos Cardenas, Scott L. Pratt and Steven L. Stice. Stem Cells. [Epub ahead of print 2011 Sep 27]. 2011 Oct 29 (10): 1640-1643.

“Human Haploid Cells Differentiated from Meiotic Competent Clonal Germ Cell Lines that Orginated from Embryonic Stem Cells.” F. D. West, J. L. Mumaw, A. Gallegos-Cardenas, A. Young and S. L. Stice. Stem Cells and Development. [Epub ahead of print 2010 Oct 7]. 2011 Jun; 20 (6):1079-88.

“Porcine Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Produce Chimeric Offspring.” F. D. West, S. L. Terlouw, D. Kwon, J. L. Mumaw, S. K. Dhara, K. Hasneen, J. R. Dobrinsky and S. L. Stice. Stem Cells and Development (Journal Cover Image). [Epub ahead of print 2010 Apr 9]. 2010 Aug 19 (8): 1211-20.

“KIT ligand and bone morphogenetic protein signaling enhances human embryonic stem cell to germ-like cell differentiation.” F. D. West, M. I. Roche-Rios, S. Abraham, R. R. Rao, M. S. Natrajan, Bacanamwo, M and S. L. Stice. Human Reproduction. [Epub ahead of print 2009 Oct 19]. 2010 Jan 25 (1): 168-78.

“Enrichment and Differentiation of Human Germ-like Cells Mediated by Feeder Cells and Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor Signaling.” Franklin D. West, David W. Machacek, Nolan L. Boyd, Kurinju Pandiyan, Kelly R. Robbins, and Steven L. Stice. Stem Cells. 2008 Nov 26 (11): 2768-76 [Epub ahead of print 2008 Aug 21].