Researcher to discuss 'the improbable series of events that led to your birth'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Have you ever wondered about the series of events that led to your birth? According to Troy Ott, professor of reproductive biology at Penn State, these events are really, very improbable.

At this month’s "Science on Tap" event Ott will discuss viviparity — the development of an embryo inside the body leading to the birth of a live offspring. Viviparity is thought to have evolved from egg-laying animals. Ott's talk will focus on one of the enigmas of live birth that relates to the mother’s immune system.

“One of the central enigmas of viviparity is why the mother's immune system does not reject the embryo, which is immunologically distinct due to the genetic contributions of the father,” says Ott. “In fact, it is thought that some infertility may be a result of a maternal immune reaction to the embryo in the uterus.”

Ott is a professor in the department of animal science and associate director in the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. His research focuses on the maternal immune response to the early embryo and factors that contribute to infertility.

The Science on Tap event will take place on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at Federal Tap House in downtown State College. Attendees are reminded that they must be 21 years of age, or older, to attend. Please note that the lecture will include discussion about sex and reproduction.

About Science on Tap

The event is part of the monthly Science on Tap series, which is designed to allow informal discussions between leading Penn State researchers and members of the public. 

Science on Tap is presented by the Science Policy Society, a graduate student-run organization that aims to teach researchers about the connection between their research and public policy. For more information, visit the society’s website. You can also follow Ott on Twitter @TroyOttAg or learn more about this research here.

Last Updated February 14, 2019