NIEHS grantee Teresa Woodruff, Ph.D., from Northwestern University, was among 85 new members elected to the National Academy of Medicine Oct. 15 in recognition of outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service.
Woodruff said the honor recognizes her work as well as that of her students across 33 years of research. “I have been privileged to work in the fundamental sciences, from cloning the genes that drive reproductive cycles in women to solving the structure of these hormones.”
Being elected to the academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Members are chosen by their peers from candidates nominated for their accomplishments and contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.
Revolutionizing reproductive science
Woodruff’s team has made major discoveries that have been directly translated to human benefits.
- The invention of the EVATAR, which simulates a reproductive cycle in a dish.
- Live birth, in mice, from a 3-D printed ovarian bioprosthetic.
- Along with Thomas O'Halloran, Ph.D., the discovery of the zinc spark from eggs at the time of fertilization.
“We congratulate Dr. Woodruff and are proud to count her and her team among the NIEHS-supported investigators producing new tools and concepts towards prevention of disease,” said Les Reinlib, Ph.D., who oversees some of Woodruff’s grants. “She is a true 21st century pioneer, and her efforts and devices are revolutionizing themes in women’s health.”
Champion of women’s health
“Perhaps the most rewarding is the work our group has done to create fertility options for young cancer patients in the field of oncofertility,” Woodruff said in a recent Tedx Talk.
“It is an honor for all this work to be recognized,” Woodruff said. “As a Ph.D. in the medical academy, I hope to serve our field through advocacy and to support the National Academy of Medicine’s mission to provide authoritative information for the public.”
As director of the Women’s Health Research Institute, Woodruff championed the National Institutes of Health policy to include sex as a biological variable in federally funded research.
Woodruff is an elected member of the National Academy of Inventors and a Guggenheim Fellow. She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama for her science education work.
“Northwestern University is the only place I could have made all our discoveries,” Woodruff said. “We have the most intellectually fearless students who are ready to create and use new tools. We have great faculty and colleagues with whom I’ve collaborated on both campuses. We are the home of the nation-leading Center for Reproductive Science, and we have great facilities that enable our work to flourish.”
(This story is based on a Northwestern University press release.)