ASRM Distinguished Researcher Award

This award recognizes a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine who has made outstanding contributions to clinical or basic research in reproduction published during the previous 10 years. The recipient will have demonstrated sustained long-term commitment to advancing the frontiers of research in reproductive sciences and educating future scholars in the field.
Nominations may be submitted by members of the Society to by June 3, 2019.
Each nomination must include:
  • A letter of nomination
  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae
  • Summary of research and educational accomplishments in the field of reproductive medicine and biology
  • Letters of support from at least two (2) additional members of the Society.

The recipient will be selected by the Executive Committee. Previous nominees will be considered.

The recipient will be recognized as the ASRM Distinguished Researcher Awardee by presentation of a plaque at the 2019 Scientific Congress & Expo. In addition, the recipient will receive complimentary registration for the ASRM 2019 Scientific Congress.

The recipient will be expected to present the ASRM Exchange Lecture at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction in  2020.

Previous recipients of the ASRM Distinguished Researcher Award:
2005 Dolores J. Lamb, Ph.D.
2006 John A. Collins, M.D.
2007 Robert N. Taylor, M.D., Ph.D.
2008 Linda C. Giudice, M.D., Ph.D.
2009 Bruce R. Carr, M.D.
2010 Richard L. Stouffer, Ph.D.
2011 Joe Leigh Simpson, M.D.
2012 Serdar E. Bulun, M.D.
2013 Robert J. Norman, M.D.
2014 Gautam Chaudhuri, M.D., Ph.D.
2015 Frank Z. Stanczyk, Ph.D.
2016 Carlos Simón Vallés, M.D., Ph.D.
2017 David K. Gardner, Ph.D.
2018 Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D.

Congratulations to the 2018 Winner

Distinguished Researcher WinnerThe 2018 recipient of the ASRM Distinguished Researcher Award is Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D., the Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the Vice Chair of Research (OB/GYN), the Chief of the Division of Reproductive Science in Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Professor of Molecular Biosciences in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. 

Dr. Woodruff’s accomplishments as a clinical scientist, inventor, mentor, and advocate for women in science have been outstanding. Dr. Woodruff received her undergraduate degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois, then completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Northwestern University. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship and early career in the Department of Cell Culture Research and Development at Genentech in San Francisco, she later returned to Northwestern.

Dr. Woodruff has been innovative throughout her prestigious research career. While in graduate school, she cloned the subunits of inhibin and subsequently solved the atomic structures of activin with its receptor and with the bioneutralizing-factor follistatin. With these studies, she defined the molecular and structural basis for peptide hormone negative feedback in the reproductive system. A 2006 paper in which her team described the live birth of mice after culturing immature follicles on an alginate hydrogel matrix was identified as the top discovery of the decade by Nature Medicine.

Dr. Woodruff coined the term “oncofertility,” and set out on a truly inspiring journey to improve both science and medicine comprehensively for patients facing a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Woodruff was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consortium Roadmap Grant, and established a national network of basic scientists, clinicians (including obstetrician/gynecologists, urologists, and oncologists), humanities experts, legal scholars, communication experts, and ethicists in an effort to translate benchtop research to the bedside. Dr. Woodruff helped nurture this multi-faceted field as it emerged, and she choreographed the deliberate interaction of scholars and experts from highly divergent fields to work together in addressing fundamental basic science and clinical care issues. Dr. Woodruff’s approach was unique in that it was genuinely inclusive, integrated, and multidisciplinary.

In 2015, she published the culminating paper of a decade-long pursuit to develop in vitro methods to mature ovarian follicles isolated from immature stages that produced the first fully mature human eggs (MII). In this model, the ovarian follicles or intact ovaries (mouse) are interconnected to human explants from fallopian tube, uterus, and cervix with liver organoids to provide a metabolic management tissue, a “menstrual cycle in a dish.” Further, the Woodruff lab has created decellularized and 3D-printed ovarian bioprosthetics that are the first-generation replacement organs for women who lose gonadal function.

These fundamental discoveries are paired with an investigator who is a tireless advocate for the education of women and advancing future scholars. She has extended this learning experience to girls from the Chicago Public Schools through the Oncofertility Saturday Academy, which introduces students to the lab and clinical practices associated with reproductive methods. For this work, she was presented the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring by Barack Obama in an Oval Office ceremony (2011). Dr. Woodruff holds 10 U.S. patents and was presented the Beacon Award from Frontiers in Reproduction (2013) to recognize excellence in reproductive science. She received the Leadership Award from the Endocrine Society (2017), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2017) and Transatlantic Medal from the Society for Endocrinology in the UK (2017). She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2017). She served as president of the Endocrine Society, has served on the Council to the Office of Women’s Heatlh at the NIH, and she has championed the new NIH policy that mandates the use of females in fundamental research.

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