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Virginia Winn

Principle Investigator


Virginia Winn

I was born and raised in Boise, ID. I was always fascinated by cellular biology, organ systems and loved solving logic puzzles. Therefore, it was not surprising that I knew from a young age that I wanted to have a career in medical research.

I attended Trinity University in San Antonio TX, which provided me with a great liberal arts education and basic science research experience. The birth of my research career occurred under the guidance of Dr. Lawrence Espey, a brillant mind, who inspired my love of endocrinology. My honors research examined the process of ovulation as an inflammatory response to the LH surge using a rat model. During my sophomore year of college I studied abroad at the University of Lancaster in England’s lake district. There I enjoyed the tradition of afternoon tea and a more contemplative pace to science.

After obtaining my B.S in Biology I then attended the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in upstate New York as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). I spent 8 years of long grey winters receiving an outstanding medical education and being part of the scientific team that discovered PGHS-2 / COX-2. Drs. Kerry O’Banion and Donald Young were both outstanding PIs and I will always be grateful for their mentorship. In Rochester I met my husband, another MSTP student, Lenny Dragone and we were married half-way through graduate school.

During the clinical years of medical school I found my calling within the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. I was fortunate to be taught by Dr. Phyllis Leppert who inspired me that one could be an MD/PhD in Obstetrics and Gynecology. After medical school I moved to San Francisco for my residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco. I remained at UCSF for my fellowship training in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. I did my post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Susan J. Fisher, an internationally reknown trophoblast biologist, who is my role model for a woman scientist who manages beautifully the balance between career and family. During this time I had my two wonderful children Kathryn and Sam. My post-doctoral research investigated the role of PGHS-2 in invasive cytotrophoblast differentiation. I also developed an expertice in gene expression microarrays and brought this technology to the Fisher laboratory. I completed two large analyses of the human maternal-fetal interface in both normal and pathologic placentas.

This work provided me with the foundation to start my own laboratory in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Colorado School of Medicine Anschutz Medical Campus. My goal is to understand both normal and abnormal human placentation in order to improve the health of mothers and infants while being a wife and mother myself.

View Virginia Winn CV