Reproductive Science and Medicine

Reproduction is axiomatic to species survival. Reproductive strategies vary within the 55,000 vertebrate species and the more than one million invertebrate types. Much of what we know about reproductive biology comes from a tiny fraction of these species. Understanding reproductive strategies from worms to humans is vital to our well of fundamental knowledge, to population-based biology, genetic diversity, and to saving individual germ lines or entire species.

Northwestern University is at the forefront of learning and discovery research in the basic and applied reproductive sciences. Generations of reproductive scientists have graduated from our program. Moreover, Northwestern science has contributed to some of the most fundamental discoveries in our field. Northwestern University's Center for Reproductive Science, formed in 1987, currently consists of 44 faculty members in 13 different basic science and clinical departments. As a group, these researchers have received over 80 million dollars in research funding from governmental agencies and private foundations in the past 5 years.

Northwestern University's Center for Reproductive Science currently has 62 graduate students and 30 postdoctoral fellows. Its Lectures in Reproductive Science Seminars series sponsors seven presentations each year. A statewide, annual reproductive biology minisymposium for trainees was initiated in 1979, under the direction of Dr. Neena B. Schwartz, the founder of the center. This annual meeting has grown through the years to include a full day of oral and poster presentations from reproductive biology trainees at institutions in Illinois and elsewhere in the Midwest. Importantly, reproductive science work and curriculum is at the intersection of several NU programs; for example, the program works with the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society to do primary research and teach. Indeed, Professor Zoloth is one of very few bioethicists funded through R01 research grant dollars for her work in the bioethics of oncofertility.

Similarly, law scholar Dorothy Roberts and medical historian Sarah Rodriguez are also R01-funded for their work at the intersection of their disciplines and reproductive biology. Brady Scholar, Dr. Paul Lauritzen (Brady Scholar) has been funded by Northwestern to work on a Catholic theological perspective on advanced reproductive technologies and will be one of the teachers in this curriculum. This curriculum provides important foundational offerings for our Reproductive Biology Training Grant (T32), two K-training programs for junior faculty (BIRWCH and WHRH) and the Brady Scholars program.

Reproductive science training at Northwestern is rich in heritage, strong in present curricular content and prepared to enhance the learning opportunities for the graduate students enrolled in our ‘cluster’ with cutting edge thinking and learning in this discipline.

Cluster Co-directors

  • Kelly Mayo, PhD, Professor, Molecular Biosciences
  • Teresa Woodruff, PhD, Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Molecular Biosciences

Training Faculty

  • Serder Bulun*, MD, George H. Gardner Professor of Clinical Gynecology
  • Andrea Dunaif*, MD, Charles F. Kettering Professor of Medicine, Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine
  • Julie Kim*, PhD, Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Kelly Mayo*, PhD, Professor, Molecular Biosciences
  • Thomas O’Halloran*, PhD, Professor, Chemistry, Molecular Biosciences
  • Carol Podlasek, PhD, Assistant Professor, Urology
  • Chris Payne*, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Children’s Memorial Research Center
  • Margarit Urbanek*, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
  • Teresa Woodruff*, PhD, Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Molecular Biosciences
  • Catherine Woolley*, PhD, Professor, Neurobiology

Faculty Members Associated with Reproductive Science and Medicine Research

  • Carolyn Bledsoe*, PhD, Professor of African Studies
  • Ralph Kazer*, PhD, Professor Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility
  • Sarah Rodriguez, PhD, Lecturer, Medical Humanities & Bioethics
  • Krista Traina, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies
  • Jeff Weiss*, PhD, Research Professor, Medicine, Endocrinology Division
  • Laurie Zoloth*, PhD, Professor of Medical Humanities & Bioethics and Religion, Director of Center for Bioethics, Science and Society

*Denotes members of the Center for Reproductive Science at Northwestern University