Obstetrics and Gynecology

  • Research

    Leslie in Laboratory

    Faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology conduct research in diverse areas of basic reproductive research:

    Mario Ascoli, PhD

    The lutropin/choriogonadotropin (LHR) and follitropin (FSHR) receptors are the principal regulators of reproduction in humans. Loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutations of these receptors are known to be associated with a number of disorders of the reproductive system such as ovarian dysgenesis, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, Leydig cell hypoplasia, male-limited precocious puberty and Leydig cell tumors.

    Catherine Bradley, MD, MSc

    Female urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders

    Donghai Dai, MD, PhD

    My research revolves around developing novel prognostic indicators for gynecologic cancers through bioinformatic/cell biology integration. This incorporates genome sequencing and tumor evolutionary history to predict clinical outcomes.

    Eric Devor, PhD

    My research interests focus on the role of post-transcriptional gene expression regulators (small RNAs) in the pathogenesis and recurrence of uterine cancers. I am also interested in the role of these same regulators in the establishment and maintenance of the placenta during both normal gestation and in gestational disorders such as preeclampsia and pre-term birth. In addition, I am studying a placenta-specific protein, PLAC1, in uterine cancers and in normal and pathogenic placental development.

    Rene Genedry, MD

    Female urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, treatment and prevention of obstetric fistula

    Pamela Geyer, PhD

    Mechanisms involved in genome organization and gene regulation, including insulators and nuclear lamina function. Insulators are a specialized class of DNA regulatory elements that have a conserved role in chromosome organization, dividing chromosomes into independent functional domains. Regulatory contributions of the nuclear lamina, protein meshwork underneath the nuclear envelope (NE) that contributes to chromosome organization and gene regulation.

    Jesus Gonzalez Bosquet, MD, PhD

    Mechanisms involved in genome organization and gene regulation, including insulators and nuclear lamina function. Insulators are a specialized class of DNA regulatory elements that have a conserved role in chromosome organization, dividing chromosomes into independent functional domains. Regulatory contributions of the nuclear lamina, protein meshwork underneath the nuclear envelope (NE) that contributes to chromosome organization and gene regulation. 

    Michael Goodheart, MD

    The role of Lef-1 in endometrial gland formation and cancer. Angiogenic markers in ovarian cancer

    Stephen K. Hunter, MD, PhD

    Non-dietary treatment of mPKU; the vaccine development against GBS; the mechanism and potential treatment of pre-eclampsia.

    Kimberly Leslie, MD

    The molecular biology of estrogen and progesterone receptors in the treatment of endometrial cancer, and identify molecular targets linked to response in clinical trials.

    Susan Lutgendorf, PhD

    Studies biological mechanisms underlying effects of stress and resilience on disease. 

    Xiangbing Meng, PhD

    My research is centered on finding new biomarkers and therapeutic targets in gynecologic cancers. Much of my work has been in advancing the use of synthetic lethality, the use of gene-targeted chemicals to enhance chemotherapy response, in uterine cancer patients. I also have an ongoing study of the oncogene MTDH/AEG-1 (metadherin) and its role in both metastasis and drug resistance in uterine cancers using cell and animal models.

    Henry D. Reyes, MD

    Primary work involves translational research with a focus on endometrial and ovarian cancers. Translational research, utilizing molecular genetics technologies including mutation screening and immunohistochemistry, has the goal of discovering biomarkers that can be used to assess treatment response and/or recurrence risks. 

    Ginny Ryan, MD, MA

    A NPY1R receptor mutation and its association with precocious puberty, birth weight outcomes after IVF/IUI, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of gonadotropin/intrauterine insemination therapy with and without oral induction agents, Bardet Biedl Syndrome and infertility – a knock out mouse model, elective single embryo transfer of good or excellent blastocysts in a selected IVF population, establishing the link between hormonal fluctuations and the potential for injury in the female athlete, Anastrozole/low dose hMG trial (ovulation induction) 

    Donna Santillan, PhD

    We perform clinical and translational studies centered on understanding the genetic and proteomic controls over pregnancy and how these are altered in abnormal pregnancies. We currently have projects studying preterm birth, Group B Streptococci, preeclampsia, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, and phenylketonuria. Additionally, I oversee the Women’s Health Tissue Repository which includes the Maternal Fetal Tissue Bank, Paternal Contributions to Children’s Health, Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Tissue Bank, and the Well Women Bank. This biorepository includes well annotated samples with corresponding clinical information and significantly increases our capacity to move our research between bench and bedside.

    Mark Santillan, MD

    Investigating the role of immunology in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia, determining molecular mechanisms of vascular function changes in mice and humans throughout pregnancy, development of a prospectively collected Maternal Fetal Tissue Bank and Clinical Database.

    Deborah I. Segaloff, PhD

    Studies the LH and FSH receptors, collectively termed the gonadotropin receptors. These G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are predominantly expressed in the ovaries and testes where they each play pivotal roles in female and male reproductive physiology, respectively. 

    Amy Sparks, PhD 

    Gamete biology; in vitro fertilization; embryo culture; and gamete/embryo cryopreservation

    Colleen Kennedy Stockdale, MD

    Vulvar and lower genital tract disease.

    Bradley Van Voorhis, MD

    Research focuses on evaluation and treatment of the infertile couple. He is interested in outcomes research including cost-effectiveness studies. He has published on birth defects following in vitro fertilization which appear to be slightly increased by this treatment. He is currently exploring the possible mechanisms of this finding. In addition, he is interested in reducing complications from infertility treatment, including reducing the rates of multiple gestations. Other areas of interest include novel ovulation induction techniques and evaluation of benign uterine conditions including endometrial polyps and fibroids and their effect on fertility.

    Shujie Yang, PhD

    My research is focused on translational therapy in endometrial cancers. Ongoing projects include 1) dual targeting the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway in endometrial cancers and 2) molecularly enhanced hormonal therapy to counter the progressive loss of estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor expression in order to re-sensitize endometrial tumors to progestin. These, and other, projects share the goal of more effective treatment and enhanced patient survival. 

    Baoli Yang, MD, PhD

    Development of mouse iPS cells; the mechanism and potential treatment of salt-sensitive hypertension; IGF-1 signaling regulation by Nedd4 during normal and malignant growth.