VINCENT FELLOWS IN REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGY AND INFERTILITY


Solving Infertility

The goal of experts in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility is to turn patients into parents. The Vincent Department of OB/GYN has one of the highest success rates in helping couples have children including offering in vitro fertilization (IVF) technologies for more than 25 years. During their research year, Vincent fellows are exploring ways to improve fertility for a wide range of patient conditions.

What Role Does Anti-Müllerian Hormone Play in the Ovarian Follicular Fluid Environment?

What Role Does Anti-Müllerian Hormone Play in the Ovarian Follicular Fluid Environment?

Caitlin R. Sacha, MD, a Vincent fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, is studying the physiology of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH). In clinical practice, this hormone is used to assess women’s ovarian function, or egg reserve. Prior studies have shown that AMH is present in the fluid surrounding eggs within each follicle. But it is not fully understood how AMH levels vary between follicles and over time for women with different infertility diagnoses. In collaboration with researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Sacha is analyzing the AMH concentration in follicular fluid collected from more than 200 in vitro fertilization cycles at Mass General. In addition to increasing our knowledge of AMH physiology in the ovary, these studies will help us determine if AMH in follicular fluid is a valuable predictor of embryo quality.

Faculty Mentors
Basic Research
Patricia Donahoe, MD, Director, Mass General Pediatric Surgical Research Laboratories
David Pepin, PhD, Molecular Biologist, Mass General Pediatric Surgical Research Laboratories

Clinical Research
Irene Souter, MD, Vincent OB/GYN Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
Russ Hauser, PhD, The Frederick Lee Hisaw Professor of Reproductive Physiology; Chair, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Career Path
MD:  Duke University School of Medicine, 2014
OB/GYN Residency:  Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital Integrated Residency in OB/GYN, 2014–2018
Vincent Fellowship:  2018–2021

 

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Can We Protect the Ovaries During Chemotherapy?

Can We Protect the Ovaries During Chemotherapy?

Jennifer Hsu, MD, a fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, is studying a protein called anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), which inhibits the development of ovarian follicles. AMH is normally produced by the ovaries of reproductive-age women to prevent the over-recruitment of egg follicles. Levels of AMH are often measured by infertility specialists to estimate a woman’s ovarian reserve of follicles. Research in mice shows that arresting follicular development with AMH can protect the ovarian reserve from chemotherapy, and that folliculogenesis can be resumed, and even enhanced, afterwards. These findings may lead to treatments that preserve the fertility of cancer patients during chemotherapy, can be applied to contraception, and adapted to improve assisted-reproductive technology, including in vitro fertilization.

Faculty Mentors
Irene Souter, MD, Vincent OB/GYN Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
David Pepin, PhD, Investigator, Mass General Pediatric Surgical Research Laboratories

Career Path
MD:  University of Virginia Medical School, 2013
OB/GYN Residency:  Columbia University Medical Center, 2013–2017
Vincent Fellowship:  2017–2020

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Do Phenols Found in Ovarian Follicular Fluid Affect Fertility?

Do Phenols Found in Ovarian Follicular Fluid Affect Fertility?

Irene Dimitriadis, MD, a Vincent fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, is studying the effect of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on reproductive health. These chemicals can mimic or antagonize the action of hormones, leading to potential adverse effects on fertility. Exposure to phenols — a family of EDCs found in plastics, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products and even used as food preservatives — is widespread and can occur through ingestion, inhalation and dermal absorption. In the first study of this size, she is investigating the levels of phenols in ovarian follicular fluid and the possible effects on fertility and assisted reproductive technology outcomes, with the hope that this work will lead to modifiable ways to improve fertility.

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