NIH T32 Institutional Training Grant in Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology

Why a Pre-doctoral Training Grant?

A.1 Rationale for the Program . The objective of the program is to provide training at the predoctoral and postdoctoral level in interdisciplinary research at the forefront of reproductive physiology and health, as well as provide a nucleus by which interdepartmental faculty and students from across campus can meet and synergize.

A.2 Need for the Research Training Proposed . From a research and health perspective, the need for a greater understanding of reproductive mechanisms and related health issues is extremely high. Regulation of fertility is a major factor in population control and, indirectly, the eradication of poverty. Conversely studies in reproduction can also provide solutions to infertility. These areas, as well as the successful completion of gestation to term free of disease is not only of immediate relevance to maternal and fetal health in humans, but recent studies increasingly show the completion of normal gestation is an important key to long term health far into adulthood, and therefore of benefit to society.

Comparative physiology is a powerful tool in the study of human reproduction and an important part of this program but it is also relevant in its own right since similar completion of normal gestation in domestic species directly effects newborn survival and health/growth rate and so the efficiency of US agriculture. The Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology Program includes studies from neuroendocrine control of ovulation, sperm motility and fertilization, implantation and placentation all the way through development to term and beyond in a wide variety of mammalian species as well as numerous cell models. Several aspects of the reproductive studies currently active in this program are also relevant to many other areas of human health. Studies of embryo implantation and placentation are of relevance to invasive tumors and immune tolerance in general. Studies of placental growth factors and estrogens in placental and maternal vascular remodeling/ angiogenesis impact directly on the control of blood supply to and growth of tumors. Many of the studies of the endocrine regulation of and roles of estrogen and progesterone in the reproductive cycle and pregnancy are directly relevant to both menopause and the possible fertility suppressing effects of phytoestrogens. In addition there are several faculty directly investigating pregnancy related diseases, including preeclampsia, timing of puberty, menopause, intrauterine growth retardation, prenatal programming of polycystic ovarian syndrome and social/stress inhibition of fertility. Many of our faculty also study tumors of mammary and other origins, as well as leading the field in more general areas of cell signaling. These topics are highly relevant to all aspects of reproductive physiology in general and human reproduction in particular. Finally, a recent addition to the breadth of the program of relevance to human health is that of Embryonic Stem Cell research, stimulated largely by the recent recruitment of Dr. James Thomson, a pioneer in the field, and Dr. Jon Ordorico, a transplant surgeon.

In view of the importance of the need for an understanding of reproduction to society it follows that the training of future scientists in this field is of value to society. We propose the ERP, with its wide base of interdisciplinary research at all levels of reproduction, is an appropriate body to undertake that training and we therefore submit this proposal for predoctoral fellowship support.

Professional Development Resources for Graduate Students

The ERP Program is committed to providing all graduate students professional development opportunities through participation in scientific meetings, teaching, grant writing, responsible conduct in research, technical skills and career development. Each student's faculty member will play a significant role in their professional development, however the University has a number workshops, seminars, and resources to compliment the individual training. The program has developed a list of resources of interest to both students and faculty members that can be accessed at our Professional Development page.

The training grant will only support domestic students who are either US citizens or greencard holders pursuing a PhD degree. Selected students must be within 1 semester of passing the preliminary exam and have at least 1 full year of experiments (bench work) to complete.

List of Trainees (2004 - 2009)

  • Dr. Jacqueline Cale (I. Bird)
  • Dr. Behzad Gerami-Naini (T. Golos)
  • Dr. Nicole Korpi Steiner (P. Bertics)
  • Dr. J. Christina Pattison (I. Bird)
  • Dr. Amy Reeder (J. Parrish)
  • Dr. Jessica Drenzek (T. Golos)
  • Dr. Sekoni Noel (E. Terasawa)
  • Dr. Jennifer Arens Gubbels (M. Patankar)
  • Dr. Maria Giakoumopoulos, PhD (T. Golos)
  • Justin Bushkofsky, PhD in progress (C. Jefcoate)
  • Derek Boeldt, PhD in progress (I. Bird)
  • Dr. Kate Guerriero, PhD (E. Terasawa)

List of Trainees (2009-2014)

  • Derek Boeldt, PhD in progress (I. Bird)
  • Dr. Kate Guerriero, PhD (E. Terasawa)
  • Ann Rozner, PhD in progress (T. Golos)
  • Dr. Chanel Tyler, PhD in progress (M. Patankar)
  • Samantha Lewis, PhD in progress (J. Jorgensen)
  • S. Omar Jobe, PhD in progress (R. Magness)
  • Katie Hackbart, PhD in progress (M. Wiltbank)
  • Mayra Pastore, PhD in progress (R. Magness)
  • Meghan Maguire, PhD in progress (C. Jefcoate)
  • Luca Clemente, PhD in progress (I. Bird)
  • Brian Kenealy, PhD in progress (E. Terasawa)

For more information contact Dr. Ian Bird, Program Director and Principle Investigator or Grace Jensen.