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Directors' Message

Welcome to the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Center for Reproductive Science (CRS). We cannot think of a more exciting or crucial time to be involved in reproductive science and medicine!

Reproduction matters. Our scientific and medical discoveries are intertwined with significant moral, ethical and political questions. Just think: 

  • The male and female reproductive systems are essential for giving rise to the next generation and for maintaining endocrine function. Reproductive hormones are essential for general health as they contribute to cognitive, cardiovascular, bone and immune system functions. 
  • Colliding epidemics of infectious diseases, obesity and diabetes challenge our reproductive health and future – along with iatrogenic insults (chemotherapy and radiation), environmental contaminants and delayed childbearing. 
  • Reproductive science and medicine will guide evolving and emerging treatments related to contraception, infertility, reproductive tract conditions, cancers, infectious diseases and pregnancy-related disorders.  

Since its formal inception in 1987, the CRS has been at the forefront of reproductive science and medicine research, from basic research on cellular and molecular mechanisms to physiological integration across organ systems to clinical practices that impact fertility and health. The center's founding director Neena Schwartz, PhD, was the first to characterize inhibin in follicular fluid, and pioneering member Erwin Goldberg, PhD, was the first to identify the male germ cell-specific enzyme LDH-C4.   

Building on this foundation with strong institutional support, the center today includes nearly 200 faculty members and 100 trainees that together have discovered placental hormones, revealed signaling pathways in reproductive tract disease, solved the structures of key reproductive hormones, characterized major hormone biosynthetic pathways and developed new fertility preservation strategies. This rich environment has been fueling the reproductive science and medicine pipeline, nurturing generations of reproductive scientists who have been assuming leadership positions in academia, medicine, industry, journalism, policy and beyond. 

Our reproductive science community is vibrant, and we garner success from innovative collaborations and technologies. We are at the crossroads of multiple disciplines, including medicine, physiology, chemistry, molecular and cellular biology, genetics, biomaterials engineering, religion, anthropology, law and bioethics. 

The CRS offers a wide array of education programs, award and funding opportunities and events in reproductive science and medicine, and we invite you to learn more.  

Francesca Duncan, PhD
Center for Reproductive Science Co-Director
Thomas J. Watkins Memorial Professor of Reproductive Science
Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology (Reproductive Science in Medicine)

Dr. Julie Kim
Julie Kim, PhD
Center for Reproductive Science Co-Director
Susy Y. Hung Research Professor
Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology (Reproductive Science in Medicine)

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