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CRS Alumni Spotlight on Jordan Machlin

Through CRS and the Oncofertility Consortium I discovered my scientific passion for investigating fertility preservation options and gained the opportunity to meet with scientists at the cutting edge of this discipline. ”

Jordan Machlin, MS

Jordan Machlin is a graduate of the MS-RSM program, class of 2019. Her thesis research, mentored by Dr. Francesca Duncan, focused on expression of the inflammatory cytokine TGFβ3 in the human ovary with advanced reproductive age. Jordan is currently a PhD candidate in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program at the University of Michigan.

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MS-RSM Class of 2019

Thesis mentor: Dr. Francesca Duncan  

Thesis Title: Expression of the inflammatory cytokine TGFβ3 increases in the human ovary with advanced reproductive age 

What is your connection to the CRS community (mentor and position) and what is your current position? 

I graduated in 2019 from the Master of Reproductive Science and Medicine program (MS-RSM) at Northwestern. While there I conducted my thesis research under the mentorship of Dr. Francesca Duncan. Currently I am pursuing my PhD in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program at the University of Michigan in Dr. Ariella Shikanov’s lab.  

Could you describe your current research/studies? 

The Shikanov lab aims to provide options for fertility and endocrine preservation and restoration for at risk populations such as prepubertal female cancer patients and transgender individuals. Anticancer therapies are gonadotoxic to the female ovary and there a limited options for fertility preservation in prepubertal girls who are surviving their cancer diagnoses at increasing rates. My research will focus on mechanisms of primordial follicle activation to optimize in vitro follicle culture in biomimetic hydrogels with the ultimate goal of providing new avenues of providing patients the chance to conceive a biological child.  

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

What impacted me the most as a part of the CRS community was the opportunity to learn about the growing field of oncofertility. Through CRS and the Oncofertility Consortium I discovered my scientific passion for investigating fertility preservation options and gained the opportunity to meet with scientists at the cutting edge of this discipline.  

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

Truly the most valuable aspect to my training as a reproductive scientist was the hands-on research experience I received as a master’s student. I continue to use the techniques I learned from the professors and graduate students in CRS as a foundation for my current research. 

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

My advice for junior scientists is to be passionate about the research you pursue and make meaningful connections with researchers in that field. Science is done best through collaborations so attend talks, go to conferences, and listen to the stories of other researchers. Everyone’s journey is different and the more people you talk with the more you can learn about what is possible as a scientist! 

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

The field of reproductive biology is rapidly expanding and so much translational science is being done. I think one of the next big contributions would be the creation of an artificial ovary that we can seed follicles into and achieve hormone cyclicity to obtain mature oocytes. 

Do you have any notable stories from your time in CRS? 

My favorite memory from my time in the master’s program was during one of our classes we were given the opportunity creatively communicate science to the public. I wrote a song and made a music video with some of my best friends all about folliculogenesis as a celebration of the ovary and women in science!