2022 ASRM Research Institute Grant Awardees

Jun Wu, PhD
2022 ASRM Discovery and Innovation Grant Awardee

Jun Wu, PhD (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center)

Title: “Studying molecular mechanisms underlying human implantation and implantation failure using a pluripotent stem cell blastocyst model”

Dr. Wu is an assistant professor in the department of molecular biology at UT southwestern medical center. Dr. Wu’s work has contributed to the development of novel culture systems and methods that enable the generation of new stem cells for basic and translational studies. Dr. Wu has expanded the spectrum of pluripotent states by capturing mouse pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) with distinct molecular and phenotypic features from different developmental stages. And some of these culture conditions developed in mice enabled the generation of PSCs from many other mammalian species, including humans, non-human primates, and ungulates. In addition, Dr. Wu has developed an efficient and versatile blastocyst complementation system for in vivo generation of functional tissues and organs from cultured PSCs, and several stem cell derived blastocyst models (blastoids). Dr. Wu has received several awards including UT southwestern endowed scholar, CPRIT scholar and NYSCF-Robertson Stem Cell Investigator award.

Karen Schindler, PhD
2022 ASRM Pilot and Exploratory Grant Awardee

Karen Schindler, PhD (Rutgers University)

Title: “Determining Sirtuin 7 mechanisms that protect age-related genome stability in oocytes”

Dr. Karen Schindler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics at Rutgers University, New Jersey. She received a B.S. in Biology from Loyola University, Maryland and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology at Thomas Jefferson University. She then completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Richard Schultz at the University of Pennsylvania. Her laboratory investigates the mechanisms by which the Aurora protein kinases regulate chromosome segregation during meiosis, is probing the genetics of female infertility in humans, and is seeking to understand how Sirtuin 7 functions control reproductive longevity. Dr. Schindler was the recipient of 2018 SSR Virendra B. Mahesh New Investigator Award and the 2020 FASEB Excellence in Science Early Career Investigator Award.
Jamie Lo, MD, MCR
2022 ASRM Pilot & Exploratory Grant Awardee

Jamie Lo, MD, MCR (Oregon Health and Science University)

Title: “Identifying Epigenetic Changes in Spermatozoa of Sexually Mature Rhesus Macaques Following Chronic Marijuana Use”

Dr. Lo is an Associate Professor in the Division Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and in the Division of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. She completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah and her Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship training at OHSU. Her research interests are studying the impact of environmental factors on reproductive health and pregnancy, including substance use, primarily using a non-human primate model. Currently, her research is primarily focused on the effects of cannabis use on fertility, pregnancy, and offspring outcomes.
Joshua Halpern, MD, MS
2022 ASRM Pilot & Exploratory Grant Awardee

Joshua Halpern, MD, MS (Northwestern University)

Title: “A Pilot, Randomized Clinical Trial of Universal Home Semen Analysis Screening for the Evaluation of Male Infertility”

Dr. Halpern is a urologist and assistant professor at Northwestern Medicine who specializes in Male Reproductive Health and Sexual Function. After completing his medical studies and urologic training at Weill Cornell / New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, he went on to complete fellowship training in Andrology and Male Infertility at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he is now on faculty. Dr. Halpern also completed a Masters in Health Policy and Economics at Weill Cornell Medicine. His research explores how men access healthcare and ways to improve the delivery and quality of care.
Tsegaselassie Workalemahu PhD, MSc

2022 Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Association Research Grant Awardee

Tsegaselassie Workalemahu PhD, MSc (University of Utah)

Title: "Inherited Genetic Variants and Unexplained Recurrent Pregnancy Loss”

Dr. Workalemahu is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the division of maternal-fetal medicine. I develop a research program investigating the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms related to obstetric complications (and their short- and long-term adverse outcomes). Presently, there are knowledge gaps regarding the causes of pregnancy loss and its recurrence. These knowledge gaps have prompted the use of diagnostic tests and treatments that increase cost, anxiety and even cause harm without clear efficacy. If the genetic factors that are relevant for pregnancy loss and normal pregnancy are determined, expensive but non-specific, diagnostic evaluations and interventions for couples suffering the loss could be avoided. In my study, I am proposing to determine specific genetic mutations that cause pregnancy loss by conducting whole genome sequencing analysis of DNA from families.

Rachel West, PhD
2022 ASRM KY Cha Award in Stem Cell Technology Awardee

Rachel West, PhD (Auburn University)

Title: "Using a 3D human trophoblast stem cell model to investigate the sexual dimorphism of the placental innate immune response”

Dr. West is an Assistant Professor in the Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology Department at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Colorado State University and completed post-doctoral training at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. Her current research interests include using stem-cell based models to investigate the human peri-implantation placenta and the molecular mechanisms the contribute to implantation failure.
Brent Monseur, MD, ScM

2022 ASRM Diversity Fellowship Research Awardee
(Supported by an Educational Grant provided by EMD Serono)

Brent Monseur, MD, ScM (Stanford University)

Title: “Drivers of assisted reproductive technology use and associated reproductive and mental health outcomes in women by sexual orientation - results from national longitudinal cohorts”

Dr. Monseur is currently a fellow in reproductive endocrinology & infertility at Stanford University. He trained as a reproductive biologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health completing his Master of Science degree while investigating molecular mechanisms behind the egg’s membrane block to polyspermy and completing coursework in reproductive epidemiology and demography. Dr. Monseur received his medical doctorate from the Medical College of Virginia after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Spanish at the University of Mary Washington.
Dr. Monseur is an openly gay provider who focuses his clinical research and practice on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) family building. As an aspiring physician scientist, his commitment to research is exemplified by completing several original research projects resulting in the prestigious Luigi Mastroianni Award from the Philadelphia Area Reproductive Endocrine Society, the S. Leon Israel Award from the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia, and the Excellence in Training Award from the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society. Further, an abstract that he co-authored was awarded the ASRM Health Disparities Prize Paper. He has published several peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Fertility & Sterility, the Journal of Assisted Reproduction & Genetics, Molecular Reproduction & Development, AIDS & Behavior, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. He is a board member emeritus of the Family Equality Council (formerly Path2Parenthood) and Medical Students for Choice.

Zachary Walker, MD

2022 ASRM Diversity Fellowship Research Awardee
(Supported by an Educational Grant provided by EMD Serono)

Zachary Walker, MD (Brigham and Women’s Hospital)

Title: “Evaluation of sperm centriole distribution and composition on fertility outcomes in men with and without male factor infertility – a prospective study”

After graduating from the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Cellular Biology, Dr. Walker completed medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine. He then went on to complete an Obstetrics & Gynecology residency at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Walker served in many leadership roles including Chair of Diversity & Inclusion for the General Medical Education Housestaff Council, President of the Underrepresent in Medicine (URiM) Housestaff Committee, and Member on the Dean’s Council for Diversity. He is passionate about mental health, racial disparities, and LGBTQ healthcare and hopes to continue to participate in clinical and administrative roles to help improve the care and access for these groups, especially in the field of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. In addition, he has great clinical interest in PCOS, male infertility, and assisted reproductive technology techniques. Dr. Walker’s future career goal is to pursue a career in academic medicine which would allow him the ability to teach, perform research, and advocate for underrepresented patients in the field of REI.

2022 SREI Young Investigator Award Recipient
(Supported by an Educational Grant provided by Ferring)

Kathryn Coyne, MD (University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center/Case Western Reserve University)

Title: “Altered endometrial cell progesterone responsiveness in the etiology of endometriosis and infertility”

Dr. Coyne is a current first year Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility fellow at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio and holds a master’s degree in Medical Sciences from Loyola University Chicago. She graduated from Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. Dr. Coyne’s research interests include reproductive surgery, endometriosis, and oncofertility and she hopes to build a practice as an advanced reproductive surgeon in her future career in academic medicine.

2022 SREI Young Investigator Award Recipient
(Supported by an Educational Grant provided by Ferring)

Riwa Sabbagh, MD (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Boston IVF)

Title: “Concurrent in situ characterization of chromosome and gene expression to create a three-dimensional map of discarded human blastocysts”

Dr. Sabbagh is a fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Boston IVF where she is currently training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She completed Medical School at the American University of Beirut and spent two years working in the Reproductive Endocrinology Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. She then completed her four-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Her current research interests include human embryo characterization and understanding embryonic mosaicism. As a native Lebanese, she is fluent in Arabic and French as well as proficient in Spanish which has helped interact and communicate with patients with various backgrounds.