Integrated Training in Reproductive Sciences

Investigator: Synthia Mellon, PhD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Location(s): United States


Human reproduction affects all generations, yet many questions remain concerning both the basic biology and clinical issues in women's health. This program integrates faculty in basic science and clinical investigation and seeks to train investigators to study both basic and clinical human reproductive biology to improve the health of women and children.

This Training Program prepares physicians and scientists for investigative careers in reproductive biology. During its 30 year history, the program has trained 90 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students who have gone on to successful careers in academia and industry. The program is multifaceted and broadly based. Research training is provided by 23 members of the Center for Reproductive Sciences (CRS) who hold faculty positions in 8 departments and organized research units. The Faculty have a broad range of scientific expertise and activities in reproductive biology, including: stem cell biology, germ cell development, meiosis, follicular maturation, mechanisms of hormone action; molecular genetics, steroid biosynthesis and action, endometrial and placental function, endocrine regulation of normal and abnormal reproductive function, basic and clinical studies of PCOS. Technologies available include: human and mouse embryology, embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, transgenic mice, drosophila stem and germ cell development, yeast models of meiosis, human genetics and genomics, state-of-the-art DNA and RNA sequencing, protein/nucleic acid interaction technologies, microarrays and proteomics, bioinformatics, mass spectrometric analysis of proteins and small molecules, cutting edge microscopy and imaging technologies, in vitro fertilization, whole animal physiology, prospective clinical investigation. Following formal application to the CRS (postdoctoral fellows) or to an appropriate graduate program (predoctoral fellows), trainees are selected by an Admissions Committee. Graduate students pursue a course of study leading to the Ph.D. degree. Postdoctoral training will be offered to Ph.D. fellows in related disciplines, and to clinically trained M.D. scientists with prior specialty training. In addition to their research work, trainees take prescribed academic courses, seminars, journal clubs, conferences, and seminars on the responsible conduct of research. Trainees learn to design and execute basic research projects, analyze data and write manuscripts for prominent peer-reviewed journals. Trainees prepare and submit grant applications for extra-mural funding, present seminars in reproductive biology, and learn how to mentor students working in the lab during the summer, preparing them for independent academic careers. Trainee academic development is assured by mentoring committees through individual development plans; success of trainees and the training program is tracked through surveys of alumni. The strengths of the program include 1.) the diverse skills and interests of the faculty, 2.) the interactiveness of the faculty 3.) our substantial laboratory and core facility resources 4.) the outstanding environment for research in reproduction, development, endocrinology, cell biology, genetics and related areas at UCSF and 5.) the commitment to the highest standard of conduct in science.