Dr. Lobb obtained his Ph.D in Reproductive Endocrinology at the Banting and Best Institute, University of Toronto. He was the first to show that the transforming growth factors, previously only seen in cancers, were involved with regular monthly cycle in the ovary. Prior to joining McMaster, Dr. Lobb was a postdoctoral fellow at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, studying the hormone relaxin. At the time, relaxin was thought to be exclusively a hormone of pregnancy. It is known that relaxin dilates the cervix and softens the birth canal at delivery. Dr. Lobb found that relaxin is required in the ovary during the menstrual cycle and furthermore that its levels increase much earlier in pregnancy than previously thought.
Dr. Lobb has taught in the M.D. programme at McMaster and he created and taught the initial basic science courses for the Midwifery baccalaureate program from its inception in 1993.
Birthing complications resulting from cervical noncompliance are still a significant contributing factor to birth defects and disabilities. Despite this strong indication, we still do not understand the basic physiology of cervical ripening in women and the hormones that are involved. Furthermore, tests do not yet exist that will predict whether cervical complications are about to develop. To make some progress and advancement in this area will require the kind of basic research done in my laboratory.
My area of interest is the regulation of cell function in the reproductive tract by hormones, growth factors and drugs. This includes regular cells, as well as those that have gone cancerous. Some of the projects underway in the lab include:
- Determining the enzymes (collagenases) involved in remodeling the pregnant cervix
- Do women with an incompetent cervix have altered relaxin levels?
- Establishing cultures of hormone producing ovarian cancers to better design chemotherapeutic treatments
- Using follicular fluid from IVF procedures as a serum alternative