Seeking novel, female-targeted, non-hormonal contraceptives is one of the key aspects of family planning strategies but is very limited due to lack of investment over time, low funding to enable technology, and fragmentation of the field across disciplines. To make progress against the top line goal, concentrated, adaptable funding, new approaches and tools, and a cohesive hub-and-spoke organization with faculty and student pipelines are needed to enable the work. The Ovarian Biology Core Platform is intended to expand on research being currently pursued at Northwestern University related to engineering in vitro tissue systems for modeling reproductive tissue and developing biosensors to monitor key biological processes to improve the mechanistic understanding of follicle development and ovulation. Work described in this application would support establishment of these tools within an integrated platform for the systematic study of ovarian biology with the express purpose of discovering, screening, and validating novel contraceptives. This platform is based upon a collaborative network of four institutions (Northwestern, UCLA, Rutgers, and Ragon Institute) that will deliver a robust and optimized series of follicle and oocyte-targeted contraceptive screening tools. The resulting platform will provide internal and cross-platform consistency. We will partner this scientific discovery with a new paradigm of research by engaging a talented group of trainees in reproductive science and medicine through the Northwestern Masters in Reproductive Science and Medicine and the Graduate Cluster in Reproductive Science. This group will be trained on uniform and rigorous protocols on how to work with follicles and oocytes, and then deployed across the various projects. By investing in state-of-the-art tools that have been risk-reduced, we will mobilize the next generation of scientists to tackle contraceptive research in an unprecedented way, increasing the rate of discovery in a field where success has the potential to make a tangible and significant difference on how we live.
|Effective start/end date||9/16/20 → 8/31/24|
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (INV-003385)