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Alumni Spotlight on Patrick Eckelkamp

The CRS not only improved my knowledge of reproductive science and medicine, but also provided me the tools to succeed as a professional. ”

Patrick Eckelkamp, MS

Patrick Eckelkamp is a graduate of the MS-RSM program, class of 2021. He completed the non-thesis track and conducted research with Dr. Hoi Chang Lee. He is currently a embryologist in the Northwestern Memorial Hospital system.

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Name: Patrick Eckelkamp 

MR-RSM Class of 2021
Mentor: Dr. Hoi Chang Lee 
Project title: Investigating the relationship between the zinc spark and post-ovulatory aging in metaphase II eggs of mice. 
 
What is your connection to the CRS community (mentor and position) and what is your current position? 

I am a recent 2021 graduate of the Reproductive Science and Medicine master’s program at Northwestern University. During my time in the CRS, I was mentored by Dr. Hoi Chang Lee as my lab partner, Yair Lupovitch, and myself investigated the relationship between the zinc spark and post-ovulatory aging in mouse eggs. Upon completion of this graduate program, I took on a full-time position as an embryologist in Northwestern Memorial Hospital system. 


Could you describe your current research/studies? 

Currently I am not partaking in any research. However, I have recently begun working as an embryologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago. I am currently being trained in the andrology department which focuses on performing semen analyses as well as semen preparation for intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. 


What aspect(s) of CRS did you find most valuable? 

The Center for Reproductive Science is a phenomenal community filled with leading experts in reproductive science and medicine. Being a member of the CRS community provided me the opportunity to listen and learn from these experts and increase my exposure to the most recent up-and-coming technology and research regarding reproductive science. The CRS not only improved my knowledge of reproductive science and medicine, but also provided me the tools to succeed as a professional. 


What has been the most valuable aspect to your training as a reproductive scientist in CRS? 

The CRS community played an integral part in preparing me for a career in reproductive medicine and science. All members of the CRS including the faculty, graduate researchers, and guest lecturers were dedicated to our success as upcoming researchers and scientists. During my time as a student in the CRS I felt constantly supported by the faculty and other researchers to maximize my success in the graduate program. This support was the most valuable aspect of my training as a reproductive scientist because it made every day an enjoyable experience and fueled my desire to learn. 


What would you recommend to junior scientists in order for them succeed in their scientific careers?​ 

Don’t close yourself off to other areas of research and study that may differ from your chosen interests. In the CRS you will discover multiple facets of reproductive science and various experts in their respective fields. Keeping yourself open to all of the possibilities could provide you the opportunity to discover a passion for a particular field that you didn’t know you had. Furthermore, I would suggest that all junior scientists take the opportunity to network with their peers and others in their fields of interest. Increasing your network could provide opportunities that might not otherwise have been available. 


What do you think will be the next big contribution in the reproductive biology field? 

I think that the next big contribution to the field of reproductive biology will be prolonging the reproductive life of women. There are numerous cutting-edge techniques and technologies being studied and implemented to improve the longevity of female fertility.  For example, one method of fertility preservation that is showing promising results is ovarian tissue cryopreservation and transplantation. This process allows for females to cryopreserve ovarian tissue that can be transplanted back onto the ovary following gonadotoxic treatments such as chemotherapy.