Women’s Health Research Day!

Join us today at the State of Illinois Building and around the city to raise awareness of women’s health issues!

On this day last year, the NIH started requiring the consideration of sex as a biological variable in basic research! Thank you to the women who have fought so hard for years to make this happen!

While many of us are aware of the miscommunications concerning reproductive science and women’s health in politics and the media, as well as the inadequacy of sex-ed programs across the country, it actually goes much deeper than that. Reproductive science is not only frequently left out of Anatomy & Physiology classes, it is also frequently left out of high impact academic journals and funding sources. In fact, until a policy at the National Institute of Health (NIH) requiring the consideration of sex as a biological variable was implemented last year in 2016, many academic fields completely ignored reproductive science and the role that reproductive hormones can play in disease progression and patient treatments.

These examples are indicative of a much greater issue in modern scientific research and the way that scientists communicate their findings. There is a clear feedback loop between poor communication of reproductive science research and the stigma surrounding the field. The stigma inhibits research and communication, and the lack of research and communication sets back public perception.

We still have a long way to go — including females is still not *required*, it’s only required to be *considered*.

However, today we celebrate the progress that has been made in Women’s Health Research.

Thank you to Mayor Rahm Emanuel for proclaiming January 25th Women’s Health Research Day in Chicago!!

081__20180117_CITY_COUNCIL_AB4E4360

This is what a scientist looks like…

The March for Science was a huge success! All over the country people stood up to say that facts and evidence matter. Unfortunately, scientists can’t afford to remain in the background anymore. We must reach out to the public, we must help them to understand, and make scientific data more accessible. Today, Chicago proved we are the science city, with more marchers than even DC had, and incredible attendance at the expo after. While I didn’t get to march due to setting up the Woodruff lab booth, I did get to talk to so many people about science! People from all ages stopped by to discuss some of the current projects in the Woodruff and Laronda labs. Continue reading

Meet Evatar: The Mother of Microhumans

She’s innovative. She’s three-dimensional. She’s made out of human cells. She has a functional reproductive tract that includes an ovaryfallopian tubeuterus and cervix. She also has a liver, and the channels necessary to pump nutrients between her organs. She produces and responds to hormones, and has a normal 28-day hormone cycle. She can metabolize drugs. She can tell you how a drug may affect fertility in women, or if it is toxic to the liver. And she fits in the palm of your hand. She’s the future of drug testing in women and personalized medicine, and her name is Evatar. Just as Eve is thought to be the mother of all humans, Evatar is the mother of all microHumans. Continue reading

Stepping away from the bench to discuss communication strategies

I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to discuss strategies for communicating reproductive science (and science in general) to a doubtful world with the Northwestern University MS Health Communication students yesterday. What a great program! I couldn’t have asked for a more receptive and engaged audience. I’m really hoping to be able to collaborate with some of these students in the future and bring some of our ideas together. It was so refreshing to step away from the bench work and academic research based talks that I’m used to giving, to discuss something equally important in the scientific community.

Team Cervix

So proud to lead this team of wonderful women! Mentoring has become one of my favorite roles as a scientist, and I couldn’t ask for better mentees. While we’re sad to say goodbye to Jovanka Ravix today, we know she’s going to go on to do great things! Plus, once a member of Team Cervix, always a member of Team Cervix!

team cervix

Good manufacturing requirements for clinical trial kits

gmpI had such a great time working on this project with one of my good friends and mentors in our GMP bunny suits! We put in a lot of late nights at the GMP facility in order to complete this side project without taking away from our main research. We are also getting the cover when it’s printed! Check out our paper below!

Good manufacturing practice requirements for the production of tissue vitrification and warming and recovery kits for clinical research