Francesco Demayo, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Reproductive and Developmental Biology Laboratory / Pregnancy and Female Reproduction Group


David P Rall Building
111 Tw Alexander Dr
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709


Research Topics

Understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating normal physiology and disease development in the uterus and lung is critical in understanding causes and treatments for reproductive and pulmonary disorders. In the investigation of the regulation of reproductive biology we have focused on major regulators of female reproductive tract homeostasis, the ovarian steroids progesterone and estrogen. Utilizing genetically engineered mouse models, high content transcriptomic and cistromic analysis along with primary human samples we have sought to understand the factors that: Regulate the preparation of the uterus for embryo implantation;. Allow the uterus to support embryo invasion and fetal growth and allow the uterus to deliver the fetus at the appropriate time during pregnancy. Towards these goals we have identified the paracrine signaling pathways that regulate uterine epithelial-stroma crosstalk in controlling uterine epithelial cell proliferation and receptivity for embryo attachment. We have identified the role of nuclear receptors and transcription factors governing differentiation of human endometrial stroma cells during pregnancy and have begun identifying the role of progesterone in the regulation of myometrial function. In the process we have generate several models for infertility and endometrial cancer. Our investigation of pulmonary biology have recently focused on understanding the molecular events regulating the progression and metastasis of lung cancer. In the process we have created several genetically engineered mouse models for the various types of lung cancer. The goal of establishing these in vivo models will serve as biosensors to understand how the environment interacts with specific molecular pathways in modulating normal physiology and disease development.


Francesco J. DeMayo is Senior Principal Investigator and Chief of the Reproduction and Developmental Biology Laboratory. He received his B.S. in General Studies at Cornell University and his M.S. and Ph.D in Physiology at Michigan State University. He continued his postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine where rose to the rank of Cullen-Duncan-McAshan Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology and Pediatrics. During his tenure at Baylor College of Medicine he has received the Michael E DeBakey Research Award and the Society for the Study of Reproduction Research Award.

Selected Publications

  1. Wang X, Li X, Wang T, Wu SP, Jeong JW, Kim TH, Young SL, Lessey BA, Lanz RB, Lydon JP, DeMayo FJ. SOX17 regulates uterine epithelial-stromal cross-talk acting via a distal enhancer upstream of Ihh. Nat Commun. 2018;9(1):4421.
  2. Liu J, Wang T, Creighton CJ, Wu SP, Ray M, Janardhan KS, Willson CJ, Cho SN, Castro PD, Ittmann MM, Li JL, Davis RJ, DeMayo FJ. JNK1/2 represses Lkb1-deficiency-induced lung squamous cell carcinoma progression. Nat Commun. 2019;10(1):2148.
  3. Vasquez YM, Wang X, Wetendorf M, Franco HL, Mo Q, Wang T, Lanz RB, Young SL, Lessey BA, Spencer TE, Lydon JP, DeMayo FJ. FOXO1 regulates uterine epithelial integrity and progesterone receptor expression critical for embryo implantation. PLoS Genet. 2018;14(11):e1007787.
  4. Liu J, Wang T, Willson CJ, Janardhan KS, Wu SP, Li JL, DeMayo FJ. ERBB2 Regulates MED24 during Cancer Progression in Mice with Pten and Smad4 Deletion in the Pulmonary Epithelium. Cells. 2019;8(6).
  5. Wu SP, Li R, DeMayo FJ. Progesterone Receptor Regulation of Uterine Adaptation for Pregnancy. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2018;29(7):481-491.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Thursday, October 12, 2017