Please welcome Dr. Teresa Woodruff, PhD, Foundation Professor, to the Department of Obstetrics Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. Dr. Woodruff is an internationally recognized expert in ovarian biology and, in 2006, coined the term “oncofertility” to describe the merging of two fields: oncology and fertility. Woodruff holds more than 10 U.S. Patents and was elected to the National Academy of Inventors (2017). She has been active in education not only at the professional level but also with high school students. To this end, she founded the Oncofertility Saturday Academy (OSA), one of several high school outreach programs that engages girls in basic and medical sciences. For this work, she was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring in an Oval Office ceremony by President Obama (2011).
Please welcome Dr. Bin Gu to the Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology and Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering. Dr. Bin Gu received his Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the College of Life Sciences at Zhejiang University in China in 2013. There he discovered the expression and function of the Autoimmune Regulator (Aire) gene in embryonic stem (ES) cells. In 2013, he moved to Toronto for his postdoctoral training in Dr. Janet Rossant’s Lab in SickKids Hospital. During his postdoctoral training, he continued to study the function of Aire in early mouse embryos and revealed a novel function of Aire in mitotic spindle assembly in ES cells and early embryos, and provided a plausible explanation for the fertility defect in AIRE mutant APECED patients and Aire knockout mice. Recently, Dr. Gu has developed 2C-HR-CRISPR, a transformative technology for complex genome editing in mice.
Please welcome Dr. Steven Ondersma, PhD, to the department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, College of Human Medicine. Dr. Ondersma joins us from the Departments of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Wayne State University. His primary interest is in computer-delivered assessment and motivational interventions for substance use and other risk factors among pregnant and postpartum women. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 37), former Editor of the journal Child Maltreatment, and a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers. He has served as an invited presenter for numerous NIH topical meetings as well as for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Institute of Medicine. He has been PI on multiple NIH/CDC research grants focusing on the development and validation of novel screening techniques and technology-based brief interventions.
Today, March of Dimes announces three young investigators as recipients of the 2020 Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards: Dr. Ripla Arora from Michigan State University, Dr. Corina Lesseur from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Dr. Jamie Lo from Oregon Health & Science University. The annual award supports early-career scientists embarking on independent research careers who are committed to fighting for the health of all moms and babies.
Named for the first March of Dimes chairman and president, the award carries a $150,000 grant and is part of the nonprofit’s effort to promote actionable science that turns observations from the laboratory into interventions that support healthy moms and strong babies.
The national Stepping Up Initiative is helping hundreds of counties nationwide reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. A Michigan State University professor and her colleague have been awarded a grant to study how the program works and determine what techniques can be adopted to improve treatment for individuals with mental illnesses and keep them out of jail.
“Our primary goal is to learn more about how county agencies can work together to reduce the number of mentally ill people in county jails,” said Jennifer Johnson, a C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health at MSU College of Human Medicine. “It’s a chance to learn what works and how we can help counties address these problems.”
In the advent of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is an underlying belief in the United States that a COVID-19 vaccine may be the Holy Grail, the silver bullet to assuage the pandemic and open up the quarantine doors. Yet, there is a divide in the United States regarding vaccination acceptance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports less than 50% of adults receive the vaccine for influenza (flu). In the 2017-2018 flu season, 37.1% received the vaccine, the lowest rate in ten years. The rate increased to 45.3% in 2018-2019. In a recent study reported in The Boston Globe, authors Trujillo and Motta found that 23% of persons surveyed said they would not get the COVID-19 vaccination. The study breaks it down further regarding anti-vaccination attitudes (also known as “anti-vaxxers”) and found that 16% of respondents identified themselves as anti-vaxxers, and of those, 44% said they would not get the COVID-19 vaccine. The researchers contend that anti-vaccine sentiment still exists in spite of the deadliness of COVID-19.
Congratulations to Jessica Montgomery, MD candidate 2020, who is this year’s recipient of the Bruce Drukker Endowed Award of Excellence in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Stem cells involved in replenishing human tissues and blood depend on an enzyme known as telomerase to continue working throughout our lives. When telomerase malfunctions, it can lead to both cancer and premature aging conditions. Roughly 90% of cancer cells require inappropriate telomerase activity to survive.
In a groundbreaking new study, an interdisciplinary team of Michigan State University researchers has observed telomerase activity at a single-molecule level with unprecedented precision – expanding our understanding of the vital enzyme and progressing toward better cancer treatments.