Blanche Capel

Blanche Capel, Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania)

Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs and
James B. Duke Professor of Cell Biology
Duke University Appointments and Tenure Committee
Director of Admissions, Developmental Biology Training Program


452 Nanaline Duke Bldg., Box 3709
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC 27710

Telephone 919-684-6390
Fax 919-668-3467

Lab Site

Sex Determination, Testis and Ovary Development, and Germ Cell Biology

   The process of sex determination in mammals is dependent on the gonadal expression of a single gene on the Y chromosome, Sry. However, downstream of this dominant genetic switch are complex antagonistic signaling pathways that wage the battle of the sexes in the bipotential gonad. These signals determine the fate of gonadal cells and lead to the development of either a testis or an ovary. We study the cell and molecular pathways that regulate organogenesis of the testis and ovary. Other work in the lab centers on a comparison to temperature dependent sex determination in the red eared slider turtle Trachemys scripta elegans, and the biology of germ cells in the testis and ovary. Experimental approaches include organ culture, transgenic mice, confocal microscopy and live imaging, biochemical and molecular techniques, comparative embryology, classic mouse genetics, and systems biology.

Recent Publications:

Lin YT, Barske L, DeFalco T, Capel B. (2017). Numb regulates somatic cell lineage commitment during early gonadogenesis in mice. Development. 30. pii: dev.149203.

Maatouk, D.M., Natarajan, A., Shibata, Y., Song, L. Crawford, G.E., Ohler, U., and Capel, B. (2017). Genome-wide identification of regulatory elements in Sertoli cells. Development, 144: 720-720.

Iordan Stefanov Batchvarov, Rachel Williamson Taylor, Ximena Bustamante-Marín, Michael Czerwinski, Erika Segear Johnson, Sally Kornbluth,  and Blanche Capel. (2016). A grafted ovarian fragment rescues host fertility after chemotherapyMolecular Human Reproduction, 22: 842-851.

Czerwinski, M. Natarajan, A., Barske, L. Looger L.L. and Capel, B. (2016). A timecourse analysis of systemic and gonadal effects of termperature on sexual development of the red-eared slider turtle Trachemys scripta elegansDevBiol. 420: 166-177.

Bunce C, Capel B. (2016). Cycling in the Cell Fate LandscapeCurr Top Dev Biol. 116:153-65.

DeFalco T, Potter SJ, Williams AV, Waller B, Kan MJ, Capel B. (2015). Macrophages Contribute to the Spermatogonial Niche in the Adult Testis.  Cell Rep 12(7):1107-19.

Bustamante-Marin XM, Cook MS, Gooding J, Newgard C, Capel B. (2015). Left-Biased Spermatogenic Failure in 129/SvJ Dnd1Ter/+ Mice Correlates with Differences In Vascular Architecture, Oxygen Availability, and Metabolites.  Biol Reprod. 115.128850.

Lin YT, Capel B. (2015). Cell fate commitment during mammalian sex determination. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 32:144-52.

Capel, B. (2014). Ovarian epithelium regeneration by Lgr5(+) cellsNat Cell Biol 16:743-744.

DeFalco, T, Bhattacharya, I, Williams, AV, Sams, DM, Capel, B. (2014). Yok-sac-derived macrophages regulate fetal testis vascularization and morphogenesisProc Natl Acad Sci USA 111:E2384-2393.

Click here for a full list of Publications.