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Division of Reproductive Sciences Newsroom

Dr. Malgorzata Skaznik-Wikiel, MD awarded BIRCWH Grant
​Please join us in congratulating Dr. Malgorzata Skaznik-Wikiel, who has been awarded an NIH K-12 Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) grant for her project "The Role of PI3K/AKT/NF-κβ Signaling Pathway in High-Fat Diet-Induced Ovarian Dysfunction and Ovarian Aging."  

Course Offering: Practical Application of Molecular and Cellular Biology Techniques for the Clinical Investigator (starting 7/8/19)
​Runs from 7/8/19 - 7/29/19 Mon - Fri Lectures 8 - 9:00am; Laboratory 9am - 1pm. 
Location: Anschutz Medical Campus RC1 North Rooms 1406 & 1409. Attendance at all lectures and labs is required.
Contacts: John Tentler, PhD (​) and Andrew Bradford, PhD (
Please download the flyer​ for full details.

DRS Well Represented at the 2019 SRI Conference in Paris
​Congratulations to all of our members who were accepted into the 2019 Society for Reproductive Investigation Conference in Paris, France!  Of the 400 total abstracts submitted by in-training investigators, three of the top four are from DRS.  And of the 1,000 total abstract submissions, six of the top twenty-five are from our division.  This success is unprecedented and reflects the strong science in the Division of Reproductive Sciences.  

2018 Colorado NORC Pilot Project awarded to Dr. Malgorzata Skaznik-Wikiel, MD
​Please join us in congratulating Dr. Malgorzata Skaznik-Wikiel, who received the 2018 Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center Pilot Project Award. Her project is titled "Molecular role of endothelin-2 in high-fat diet-induced ovulatory dysfunction."

Dr. Natalie Hohos, PhD, Wins Three Awards in 2018
​Congratulations to Dr. Natalie Hohos!  Her work in the Skaznik-Wikiel Lab earned two awards at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's 74th Annual Meeting - the "In-Training Award for Research" and the "Nutrition Special Interest Group Research Award." She also received a Poster Award at CU | AMC's  Women's Health Research Day.

Faculty Launch Fund Established by Dr. Lorna Grindlay Moore, PhD
Thanks to an endowment established by Dr. Moore, eligible Instructors or Assistant Professors will be invited to apply for $40,000/yr for up to 2 years to help establish an independent research program. Faculty may be appointed in any of the schools or colleges of the University of Colorado Denver and University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Research must be in women's health; work will be prioritized that is central to launching the faculty's independent research program. Appropriate areas include, but are not limited to cardiovascular health, diabetes, education, family planning, infertility, mental health, public policy and oncology. The first awardee will be announced to later than December 1, 2018. For more information please visit:​

Download​ letter of intent and application details.
Download​​ the Faculty Launch Fund flyer.

Dr. Damian Guerra Wins 1st Place Oral Presentation at Postdoc Research Day
​Please join us in congratulating Dr. Damian Guerra, PhD, on receiving 1st Place for his oral presentation entitled "Phosphorylation of nNOS Serine1412 decreases ileal motility." Postdoc Research Day took place at Anschutz Campus on 7/12/18.  Dr. Guerra is a postdoc in the Hurt Lab.

Dr. Hurt receives 2017 Biology of Reproduction Top Reviewer Award
Dr. K. Joseph Hurt, MD is selected to receive the Top Reviewer Award for Biology of Reproduction, based on the quantity and quality of the reviews he has provided for manuscripts submitted in the past year.  BoR is the official journal of the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR). 

Dr. Ramon Lorca Publishes in the Journal of Physiology as Editor's Choice
Congratulations to Dr. Ramon Lorca for making the cover of The Journal of Physiology​! His study entitled "The large-conductance voltage- and Ca2+-activated K+ channel and its γ1-subunit modulate mouse uterine artery function during pregnancy" was selected as Editor's Choice in the March 15, 2018 issue.

Dr. Laura James-Allan wins outstanding poster presentation at Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI) Conference
Congratulations to Dr. Laura James-Allan, PhD, who was awarded a certificate for Outstanding Poster Presentation at the SRI Annual Conference in San Diego! Her poster entitled "Localization of the Insulin-Sensitive GLUT4 Transporter and the Insulin Receptor in the Human Placenta across Gestation" was selected for effectively furthering the objectives of the Society.​

Dr. Santoro elected President of the Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI)
Congratulations to Dr. Nanette Santoro​ who has been elected the 2021 President of the Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI). Dr. Santoro will be in charge of the 2021 SRI Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston.

2017 OBGYN Research Retreat​

Dr. Santoro publishes in JAMA
We are excited to congratulate Dr. Nanette Santoro, who is the E. Stewart Taylor Endowed Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, on being the author of an editorial, “Using Antimüllerian Hormone to Predict Fertility,” published October 10 2017 by JAMA. The piece addresses a study published in the same issue of JAMA that indicates that it may be necessary to reevaluate what the hormone level means for a woman’s reproductive health. The report and Nanette’s commentary received widespread media attention last week, including a write-up posted on the Today Show’s website and in an article distributed nationally by Reuters news service.

Dr. Babcock Gilbert awarded NIH loan repayment program fellowship
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Sara Babcock Gilbert, an REI fellow in the Kumar lab, on being awarded the NIH loan repayment program fellowship for two years. Her project focuses on Obesity effects on pulsatile FSH secretion and ovarian function.

Dr. Kumar is an invited speaker
Dr. Kumar​ is an invited speaker at the 4th International Congress of Gonadotropins and Gonadotropin Receptors held at Modena, Italy (9/20/2017-9/23/2017). He delivered a symposium lecture on Transgenic Models of Gonadotropin Action at the meeting.

Dr. Ferchaud-Roucher awarded grant
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Veronique Ferchaud Roucher who has been awarded a grant from the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC). The title of her grant is "The role of the placenta in fatty acid transfer to the fetus in normal and obese pregnancies."

Dr. Hurt awarded 2018 Ferring Innovation Grant
We are excited to congratulate Dr. Joe Hurt on being awarded a 2018 Ferring Innovation Grant! This was a highly competitive grant with over 300 applicants. The title of the grant is "Metabolic regulation of parturition: adiponectin as novel uterine quiescence signal."

Dr. Kumar awarded P01 grant

​Dr. Kumar​ is one of three Project Leaders on a NIA funded five year P01 Program Project (years 6-10) entitled The Aging Pituitary-Gonadal Axis. He will coordinate with two other Principal Investigators at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Wichita State University. Dr. Kumar's project, with $325,000/year in direct costs, focuses on Biological Actions of FSH glycoforms in ovaries and bone using mouse models.

Dr. Jansson awarded R01 grant

Dr. Jansson is the Principal Investigator (with Madhulika Gupta, London Canada as Co-Principal Investigator) of a five year R01 grant entitled Decidual nutrient sensing and IGFBP-1 phosphorylation in placental insufficiency, with $219,000/year in direct costs.

Dr. Kumar invited to represent Endocrine Society in Washington DC

Dr. Kumar has been invited to represent the Endocrine Society’s team of National Scientists who will visit the Capitol Hill in Washington DC on September 14th, 2017. Dr. Kumar along with 3 other scientists will participate in the Rally for Medical Research. He will also visit the offices of the State of Colorado’s Senators and Congressmen.

Dr. Kumar is the new Associate Editor of Biology of Reproduction

Dr. Kumar has been appointed as the Associate Editor of the Society of Study of Reproduction (SSR) official journal, Biology of Reproductioneffective from July 01, 2017. He will serve 4 years in this capacity and oversee manuscripts in the areas of Neuro/endocrinology; HPG axis; gonadotrope biology; ovarian biology; testis biology; somatic-germ cell interactions.

Dr. Kumar gives talk at the Reproductive Science and Medicine Summit

Dr. Kumar is one of the 6 National Speakers invited to speak at the REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCE AND MEDICINE SUMMIT organized by the Center for the Reproductive Science, Northwestern University, Chicago, on June 12, 2017. Dr. Kumar presented a plenary talk entitled “Regulation of Age-Specific FSH Glycoforms”.

Dr. Benjamin Bitler Publishes in Nature Cell Biology

We are excited to congratulate Dr. Benjamin Bitler on his recent publication in the prestigious journal of Nature Cell Biology titled: "ARID1A-mutated ovarian cancers depend on HDAC6 activity ".   

Dr. Skaznik-Wikiel awarded research grant

We are excited to congratulate Dr. Skaznik-Wikiel to be chosen as a recipient of a research grant from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). This grant will be used towards her project titled "Regulation of hormonal and ovarian gene expression in a high-fat diet- exposed obese mouse model."

Dr. Raj Kumar serves as Guest Editor for Seminars in Reproductive Medicine 

Dr. Kumar served as the Guest Editor for the March 2017 issue of the Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, entitled "Innovations in Reproductive Sciences". The 83- page volume consists of 9 state-of-the-art chapters written by renowned scientists, and include the recent advances in the female and male reproductive axis.  The journal was published by the Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., New York.   

Dr. Thomas Jansson awarded Society for Reproductive Investigation 2017 President's Achievement Award 

Please join the Division of Reproductive Sciences in congratulating our Division Chief on this prestigious award.  The award is made annually to a member of the Society whose record in scientific investigation is outstanding and assures a continued productive career in research. He has been awarded this based on his productive pioneering work in the field of placental biology, his unwavering commitment to scholarship in the field, and the great potential of his success in the future. He will be presented with the award at the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting which will be held in Orlando, FL on March 15-18, 2017. Many congratulations from all of us, Thomas!

Dr. Kumar establishes the Makowski Award in the MS-RSM program at Northwestern University

Dr. Kumar has announced that he will be partnering with the Northwestern Center for Reproductive Science (CRS) to confer the annual Makowski Award for the Best MS-RSM Student in the Master of Science in Reproductive Science and Medicine (MS-RSM) program at Northwestern University. This new award is endowed by Dr. Edgar Makowski, a prominent physician who practiced at the University of Colorado and whose named Endowed chair is now held by Dr. Kumar. Dr. Kumar will travel to Northwestern each year to deliver a lecture and personally bestow this award.  A student in the inaugural MS-RSM class will be the first recipient of this prestigious award in March 2018. Full article: Professor T. Rajendra Kumar establishes the Makowski Award in the MS-RSM Program

Dr. Connell recieves NIH grant

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Connell who recieved a new grant for her study  "The Epigenetic Signature in Women with Pelvic Organ Prolapse." It is a NIH R21 grant and the budget period is 09/23/16-08/31/17.

Dr. Skaznik-Wikiel Research on Omega 3 Fats Featured in TIME Magazine

“Based on this study, it looks very encouraging that omega 3s can potentially improve fertility,” says Skaznik-Wikiel. “Our study shows that there may be some relationship between dietary factors and things like egg quality so one idea may be recommending supplementation with omega 3s to improve fertility.” This study was presented at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine annual meeting by Dr. Skaznik-Wikiel and Dr. Polotsky . Full article: How Omega 3 Fats May Improve Fertility

Maternal Infection & Pregnancy Outcomes (MIPO) Minisymposium on December 16, 2016

Dr. Jansson and Dr. Powell are helping organize a workshop-minisymposium focused on "Maternal Infections and Pregnancy Outcomes" for Friday December 16, 2016. The workshop will be held on the CU Anshutz campus in the Hensel Phelps Auditorium West from 11:00am to 5:15pm. The program will feature presentations by experts across many areas, including immunology of human and rodent pregnancies, placental defense against viruses, congenital vector-borne disease and the potential for an outbreak, and others. Registration for the event will close on November 28th or in the event that the room capacity of 225 attendees is reached. For more information, check out the invitation to learn how to register , and the program  to see all of the workshop events.

Dr. Santoro Featured in WBUR Segment on Custom-Made Hormone Therapy

Dr. Nanette Santoro, professor and E. Stewart Taylor Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology , says "a marketing juggernaut" promoting custom-compounded hormones makes it urgent to call out their potential dangers. "There's a sense of alarm in the medical community," Santoro says. "We need to do something." In part, she says, mainstream medicine didn't see this coming, adding she's "baffled" by the surge in popularity of compounded hormone therapy. Full article can be accessed here.

Dr. Kum ar Edits Book for Elsevier/Academic Press That Has Recently Been Published

We are excited to congratulate Dr. Kumar professor and Associate Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology , as a book he edited for Elsevier/Academic Press has recently been published. The book is titled "Gonadotropins: from Bench side to Bedside," and is volume 143 of a series called Progress in Molecular Biology & Translational Medicine.

Two Faculty Members Selected to Participate in CCTSI Leadership for Innovative Team Science

Please join us in congratulating Kian Behbakht and Theresa Powell  for being selected to participate in Leadership for Innovative Team Science (LITeS), a year-long program designed for senior and mid-career faculty and academic administrators who wish to refine their management and leadership skills. Some seminar topics for this year's program include leadership and management styles, building an effective team, and mentoring, coaching, and thriving in our multigenerational workplace.

Fellows Win Awards to Attend the International Federation of Placenta Associations Meeting

We are excited to congratulate two of our fellows, Rebecca Jessel and Stephanie Chassen, on recieving travel awards to attend The International Federation of Placenta Associations (IFPA) meeting this year. The IFPA 2016 theme is "Placenta: Back to the Basics." The meeting will be held in Portland, Oregon from September 13-16, 2016.

Dr. Kumar's Reseach Paper Reaches Milestone

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Raj Kumar, professor and Associate Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, as his 1997 publication "Follicle stimulating hormone is required for ovarian follicle maturation but not male fertility has reached the 1,000 citations milestone, according to the Google Scholar Rankings.

Dr. Santoro's Research on Migraines Featured in TIME Magazine

"It's unlikely that the estrogen fluctuation alone causes a migraine, but it may be a precipitating factor," says study author Dr. Nanette Santoro.  Santoro says men do not experience the same type of large hormone fluctuations with testosterone as women do with the hormones estradiol and progesterone each month.  "Women whose migraines are influenced by their hormone fluctuations -- and most are -- are just going to have more headaches than a man who does not experience hormone fluctuations," says Santoro. Full article: Here's why Women Get Migraines More Than Men  

Dr. Santoro Receives Endocrine Society 2016 Outstanding Mentor Award

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Nanette Santoro, professor and E. Stewart Taylor Chair of OB/GYN, for receiving the Endocrine Society 2016 Outstanding Mentor Award.  The award recognizes mentors who have significant impact on the education and careers of others.  In Nanette's case, the Society noted that her mentees have received more than 25 NIH and foundation grants and many have become leaders in other programs.  Nanette also recently completed the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program at Drexel University College of Medicine. 

Faculty Awarded New NIH Research Grants

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Nanette Santoro and Dr. Lorna Moore for recently being awarded NIH R01 research grants.

  • Dr. Santoro's grant entitled: "Reprometabolic Syndrome Mediates Subfertility in Obesity " will be the first comprehensive investigation to tie together the patterns of hyperinsulinemia, hyperlipidemia and inflammation, characteristic of obesity and obesity-caused relative hypogonadotropic hypogonadotropism and its potential adverse reproductive outcomes. 
  • Dr. Moore's grant entitled: "Chronic hypoxia, AMPK activation and uterine artery blood flow" will examine the AMPK and related proteins that may protect some women and their babies from altitude-associated fetal growth restriction.  Since these proteins may be modified by drugs or nutritional substances, such studies may lead to new therapies for treating or preventing fetal growth restriction, one of the most important determinants not only of newborn, but also of lifetime health.

Division of Reproductive Sciences welcomes Dr. Raj Kumar

T. Rajendra Kumar, PhD will be joining the Division of Reproductive Sciences as Professor and Associate Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology on May 1, 2016

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Increasing specific hormone during pregnancy may break cycle of obesity, CU Anschutz scientists say
Babies born to obese women often go on to become obese as well, but scientists in Colorado may have found a way to counter that trend....
Researchers discover hormone may fight obesity

The NOW Denver Co-Anchor Molly Hendrickson tells us about how researchers at CU Anschutz could help break the cycle of obesity.

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All that meat could be hurting your fertility

Research warning against too much fat and animal protein is part of a growing recognition of the role of lifestyle factors in infertility — for women and men

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