Amander Clark, PhD

Amander Clark, Ph.D. 

Professor and Chair, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology

Bio

Amander Clark, Ph.D., studies germline cells, which are the cells that create eggs and sperm. Germline cells are the only cells in the human body capable of passing genes from parent to child. Clark aims to expand the understanding of human germline cell development, which could lead to new methods that identify and treat infertility and shed light on how congenital abnormalities and germ cell tumors develop. 

The Clark lab uses pluripotent stem cells to recreate germline cells in the laboratory. This approach is used to understand how genetic information stored in the germline is protected and preserved during the reproductive life cycle.  Through this work, Clark and her team strive to identify genetic abnormalities that could cause human infertility or diseases of the germline including germ cell tumors in young boys and primary ovarian insufficiency in young girls.  Her research could also lead to the creation of new regenerative approaches through in vitro gametogenesis (IVG), the process of creating eggs and sperm from human induced pluripotent stem cells.

In 2015, Clark and her team developed the first genomics-based method to map the critical stages of human germline cell development. The resulting map allows Clark and other researchers to use genomic technologies to measure the quality of germline cells made from pluripotent stem cells in the laboratory.  Ensuring that the germline cells made in the laboratory are equivalent to cells found in the body is critical for the development of cell therapies that could treat infertility, which affects an estimated 50 million couples worldwide and is common among cancer survivors whose eggs or sperm have been damaged by chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

Clark earned a doctorate degree in cell and developmental biology from the University of Melbourne and completed post-doctoral fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of California, San Francisco.

Publications

Honors & Affiliations

Honors

  • Young Investigator Award, International Society for Stem Cell Research, 2003

Affiliations

  • International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Society for the Study of Reproduction
  • The Hinxton Group
  • UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program
  • UCLA Molecular Biology Institute

Funding

Clark’s work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, STOP Cancer, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center.

Videos

Creating Embryonic Stem Cell Lines
Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA scientist, Dr. Amander Clark has a CIRM grant to develop new embryonic stem cell lines that are suitable for transplantation therapies. She also uses the lines to study infertility.
The Next Frontier in Stem Cell Research
UCLA Life Sciences Public Lecture: "The Next Frontier in Stem Cell Research" Amander Clark, PhD March 16, 2011
Using stem cells to understand infertility
Amander Clark's research goal is to understand issues related to reproductive health in order to find better ways to treat infertility, birth defects and tumors of the 'germ cells' (the cells that differentiate into egg or sperm cells). In this video, she discusses how she is using stem cells to understand germ cell biology and infertility.