Project II - Center for Reproductive Research at Northwestern University

Project: Research project

Project Details


This application requests continuing support for the Center for Reproductive Research (CRR) at Northwestern University and its goal to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of female fertility and infertility. The purpose of our center is to explore ovarian follicle dynamics from the perspective of structure-function relationships of the follicle unit and the hormones that regulate it. The intent of the original CRR proposal was to facilitate the transfer of basic biological, biochemical and biophysical findings to clinical care by bringing experts in engineering, biophysics and structural biology together with reproductive endocrinologists and clinical investigators. We explored the relationship between the holo-follicular structure and its ability to sense and respond appropriately to endocrine hormones and paracrine acting factors (inhibin and activin) and made significant new observations about how these mechanisms are regulated biophysically. We solved four major hormone structures at the atomic level and the structure of a transcription factor bound to DMA. We also developed an in vitro follicle maturation system that supports immature follicle growth, oocyte maturation and the birth of live, healthy offspring. By all measures, the first four years of this center have been productive and effective in translating the work from basic reproductive biology to biophysics and biomaterials to the bedside. The projects proposed for the next five years of work are innovative and again focus on major questions in reproductive science using a structure-function approach. Our scientists and clinical investigators work as a highly effective team to ensure the timely, bidirectional transfer of information from clinical problem to the bench and back. To accomplish our goals, four projects are proposed. It is known that fertility and oocyte quality diminish with age and oocytes from older women frequently have abnormal meiotic spindles, including abnormal chromosom
Effective start/end date4/1/083/31/13


  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U54 HD041857)


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.