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MS-RSM 2017 Students Select their Research Mentors

By: Chelsea Castleberry, CRS Program Assistant, December 6, 2017

“The best mentor-mentee relationships have dimensions that expand over time – in the beginning, mentors hold a hand out as mentees climb rung by rung, up the career ladder.  Eventually, these relationships expand into a lattice that creates networks, community, and confidence on the way to a profession.” says CRS Director, Teresa K. Woodruff.

Research is a unique aspect of our Master of Science in Reproductive Science and Medicine program. Our mission is to provide fundamental reproductive science training with a focus on applications to human health. Students choose to complete their reproductive science training through either the Thesis or Non-Thesis track; both tracks, while different, have a strong emphasis on research.

Students who have elected the Thesis track participate in an intensive reproductive technologies laboratory course, coupled with independent research in a selected laboratory. Students who have elected the Non-Thesis track complete structured hypothesis-driven research in a classroom setting. Students on both the Thesis and Non-Thesis tracks complete core reproductive physiology, responsible conduct of research, advanced topics, and professional development courses as a cohort.

This year, students on the Thesis track have chosen to perform their research with a variety of esteemed CRS Faculty members, including:

  • Serdar Bulun, MD, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Francesca Duncan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Executive Director of CRS
  • Daniela Matei, MD, Diana, Princess of Wales Professor of Cancer Research
  • Mary Ellen Pavone, MD, Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI)
  • Christopher Payne, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Margrit Urbanek, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology
  • Teresa Woodruff, PhD, Dean and Associate Provost for Graduate Education, The Graduate School, Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Director or CRS

Research topics for students on the Thesis track will range from fertility preservation, estrogen biosynthesis and metabolism, endocrinology, genetic and epigenetic modulators of adult stem cells, reproductive aging, and gynecologic oncology.

“One of the main reasons I applied for MS-RSM is to study ovarian cancer further, thus was looking forward to working with Dr. Matei since square one… I am especially excited to finally dive into my project as I will be using CRISPR to modulate cancer cell lines! It's such a popular tool for gene editing, I am excited to see where my project will take me.” – Hyebin Roh, MS-RSM Student

“I am excited to be working with such a well-disciplined, thorough, and out-of-the-box thinker that is my PI, Dr. Christopher Payne. Not only do I believe that his influence will be great for my research career, but I understand that his mentorship will be of thoughtful and meticulous quality…His excitement for the field, and approach to developing a male contraceptive, is witty and leading edge.” – Cynthia Salas, MS-RSM Student

Students on the Non-Thesis track will investigate two group projects under the guidance of Pamela Monahan, PhD, MS-RSM Instructor. The first project will focus on the influence of estrogen on Notch signaling in reproductive tissues, and the second project will focus on characterizing vascular defects in placental development in a rat model of preeclampsia.

The Center for Reproductive Science is grateful to the many mentors who work everyday to model excellent science and outstanding leadership to our students as they begin their ascent through their careers.

“I look forward to seeing our masters students use their mentors guidance to move first upward, and then outward, in their professional development.” – Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD