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CRS Trainee, Maxwell Edmonds, Takes First Place for his Oral Presentation at ISRS!

By: Chelsea Castleberry, CRS Program Assistant, October 16th, 2018

The Illinois Symposium on Reproductive Science (ISRS) is an annual regional meeting that offers a unique opportunity for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and clinical fellows in the reproductive sciences to plan a meeting and present their research to their peers and senior scientists from across Illinois and beyond. The goals of ISRS are to celebrate our strong research and educational heritage, to foster the exchange of scientific information in the reproductive sciences, to facilitate the training and career development of future reproductive scientists, and to leverage our collective institutional strengths to maintain Illinois in a preeminent nationwide position in this critical research field.

Julia Balough presents her posterSince 2008, reproductive science faculty and trainees from across Illinois have participated in this annual event, which is hosted by a rotation of Illinois universities including Northwestern University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Southern Illinois University (SIU).

A traditional and highly valued component of the ISRS meeting is that a committee of trainees plan and organize all aspects of the meeting. The trainee committee includes members from across Illinois and promotes a state-wide peer and mentor network for our trainees. The 2018 ISRS was held at SIU and was sponsored by the National Institutes for Health, the Society for the Study of Reproduction, the Gabriel Bialy Foundation, and the SIU School of Medicine.  From the CRS, masters students Julia Balough (Woodruff Lab) and Jennie Chen (Bulun Lab) volunteered to be a part of the planning committee.Leah Simon presenting her poster

“It was an eye-opening experience as I not only gained knowledge about how a conference was organized, but I also got a chance to interact with awesome people outside Northwestern University, who are also doing research in Reproductive Biology. As a young student embarking on a journey of Reproductive Biology, all the amazing research, as well as the people active in this area, continue to motivate me to further pursue my career in Reproductive Biology.” – Jennie Chen, MS-RSM Student

CRS Trainee, Maxwell Edmonds, was awarded first place in the Trainee Oral Presentation competition with his presentation, “Investigatory Methods in Testis In Vitro Modeling”, followed by fellow CRS Trainee, Jenny Rowley who took second place for her oral presentation, “Low molecular weight hyaluronan compromises oogenesis, but not follicle growth or survival”.

ISRS is a great opportunity to meet other trainees within the reproductive sciences from across Illinois. The poster sessions were in a very intimate setting where I had the opportunity to personally talk with almost every poster presenter in attendance, and the oral talks were phenomenal. A personal highlight for me was hearing Dr. John McCarrey's fantastic talk on the "Golden Boy" hypothesis of spermatogonial stem cell identity, and the genetic mutation resistance of spermatogonial stem cells. I also greatly benefitted by receiving really insightful feedback on my own thesis work from several faculty from other universities across our state.” – Maxwell Edmonds, MD/PhD Candidate, Woodruff Lab

Jenny Rowley receiving her award“I loved getting to see all the reproductive science coming out of institutions from around the state. Making connections with other young reproductive scientists from Illinois was really wonderful.” – Jenny Rowley, MS-RSM Student, Duncan Lab

Several other CRS members attended this event, including Leah Simon (MS-RSM Student, Duncan Lab), Nisan Hubbard (Graduate Student, Mayo Lab), Kessidy Chan (Lab Technician, Mayo Lab), Yu-Ying Chen (Graduate Student, Woodruff Lab), Dr. Hoi Chang Lee (Postdoctoral Fellow, Woodruff Lab), Nathan Henning (Graduate Student, Laronda Lab), and Dr. Kelly McKinnon (Postdoctoral Fellow, Laronda Lab).

Stay tuned for more information on the 2019 ISRS, which will take place at Northwestern!