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The NICHD Connection is pleased to introduce Dr. Erin Wolff and Dr. Angela Delaney as the new Assistant Clinical Investigators.

Full profiles for all ACIs and more information about the NICHD Assistant Clinical Investigator program can be found at http://aci.nichd.nih.gov.

Erin Wolff MD

Erin Wolff, MD

Unit on Reproductive and Regenerative Medicine
Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology, NICHD
Molecular and Clinical Hematology Branch, NHLBI

Mentor

John Tisdale, MD

Research

The Unit on Reproductive and Regenerative Medicine conducts translational research on disorders impacting reproduction. Particular areas of interest are endometrial stem cells and conditions affecting the endometrium, which can result in a wide variety of gynecologic problems such as scarring of the uterine cavity (Asherman's syndrome), abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis, infertility due to implantation failures, and recurrent pregnancy loss.

Research Statement

My research unit studies the endometrium and endometrial related conditions such as Asherman's syndrome, abnormal uterine bleeding, recurrent miscarriages, infertility due to implantation failures, and endometriosis. Areas of focus include characterization of endometrial stem cell function, possible therapeutic applications of endometrial stem cells, sources of endometrial stem cells, and cellular therapies to correct endometrial-related conditions. Model systems used for study include: 1) patients at the NIH who have undergone peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) for non-malignant hematologic conditions (e.g., sickle cell disease), as well as 2) autologous Rhesus macaque PBSCT model created by the Tisdale Lab (Molecular and Clinical Hematology Branch, NHLBI). We are using these models to study endometrial engraftment from bone marrow derived cells and the endometrial effects of bone marrow derived cells residing in the uterus.

In addition, we are studying a rare familial syndrome with reproductive phenotype due to a germline mutation in the gene HRPT2. Patients with this disorder suffer from life-threatening heavy menstrual bleeding (often requiring hysterectomy at young ages), recurrent pregnancy loss, and benign and malignant uterine tumors (frequently mesodermal lineages). We are using endometrial cells from patients with this condition to generate reproductive disease-specific, induced pluripotent stem cells with which to study reproductive disorders.


Angela Delaney MD

Angela Delaney, MD

Unit on Genetics of Puberty and Reproduction
Program on Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics, NICHD

Mentor

Constantine Stratakis, MD, D(med)Sci

Research

The Unit on Genetics of Puberty and Reproduction focuses on the genetic and neuroendocrine factors underlying the onset of pubertal development and regulation of reproductive capability.

Research Statement

My research group, the Unit on Genetics of Puberty and Reproduction, is interested in identifying the key initiating factors for pubertal onset in children. In infancy, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is secreted from neurons in the hypothalamus, which become quiescent during childhood and are reactivated at the time of puberty to complete sexual maturation. Investigation of patients with the rare genetic disorder of isolated congenital GnRH deficiency, or idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH), has led to important insights into the higher neural regulation of GnRH secretion. In collaboration with the Reproductive Endocrine Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital, we are conducting translational research on the neuroendocrine and genetic control of GnRH secretion, and its regulation of gonadotropin secretion and gonadal physiology. Our focus is on genetic defects and phenotypic characteristics in patients with IHH and their families. We use molecular, cellular, and biochemical techniques to identify and characterize biological pathways that may contribute to the reactivation of GnRH secretion at puberty and to explore diagnostic techniques and treatment of disorders of puberty and reproduction.