November 3rd: Morning Session Highlights

We’re now less than a month away from the 9th Annual Oncofertility Conference, Critical Conversations in Oncofertility: Pediatrics and Beyond.  In the coming days and weeks, we will highlight different sessions of the meeting and our wonderful speakers.

Today, we’re sharing speaker bios for the Morning Session of November 3, 2015 which focuses on advances in bench research and ends with our morning keynote, Dr. Charles Sklar.


 Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 1.09.21 PMTeresa K. Woodruff, PhD, Director of the Oncofertility Consortium, Northwestern University

Presentation: Ovarian Follicle Development in vitro

Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD, is the Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine and Professor of Molecular Biosciences, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She received her PhD from Northwestern University in 1989. As a reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Woodruff has spent the better part of her research career focusing on female reproductive health and infertility. To that end, she was made Chief of the newly created Division of Fertility Preservation at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Combining this effort with her work on two R01 NIH grants, a P01 grant and core facility, and her work as the director of two NIH funded center grants: The Center for Reproductive Research (P50) and the Oncofertility Consortium ® (UL1), Dr. Woodruff has established a team of oncologists, fertility specialists, social scientists, educators and policy makers to translate her research to the clinical care of women who will lose their fertility due to cancer treatment. To describe this effort, she coined the term oncofertility, and she has co-edited four books on the topic (Oncofertility, 2007; Oncofertility: Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities, 2010; Oncofertility Medical Practice: Clinical issues and Implementation, 2012; Oncofertility Communication: Sharing Information and Building Relationships across Disciplines, 2014).

Find Dr. Woodruff on the web at:,,,,,,


Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 1.09.26 PMMary Zelinski, PhD, Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Oregon Health & Sciences University

Presentation: Advances in Vitrification of Ovarian Tissue and Follicles in Primates

Dr. Zelinski received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Oregon State University. She received post-doctoral training at the Oregon National Primate Research where she is currently an Associate Scientist in the Division of Reproductive & Developmental Sciences, and Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Oregon Health & Science University.

Her research centers on understanding the development and function of primate ovarian follicles. Her experience with nonhuman primates as pre-clinical models for infertility and contraception related to women’s reproductive health spans over two decades. She is currently developing ovarian tissue vitrification and follicle culture as novel options for female fertility preservation. She is a four-time recipient of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Scientific Program Prize, which highlights the importance of nonhuman primate studies for clinical application. She has been an invited speaker at many national and international meetings, has numerous manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, and served as Secretary, Program Chair and on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Study of Reproduction from which she received the Distinguished Service Award in 2014. She also directs and participants in science outreach activities for students and adults.


 Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 1.09.32 PMAmander Clark, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair of Mollecular Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California Los Angeles.

Presentation: Female IPS to Germ Cells  

Amander Clark, PhD is Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, Director of the Embryonic Stem Cell Derivation laboratory and Key member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative and Stem Cell Research at the University of California Los Angeles. Dr. Clark’s work is focused on the use of pluripotent stem cells to understand the cell and molecular basis of human reproduction and embryo development, with a focus on germline epigenetic reprogramming. Dr. Clark’s laboratory is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Concern Foundation and the Alternatives Research and Development Foundation. Dr. Clark is a recipient of a Young Investigator Award from the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a Research and Career Development award from STOP Cancer, and a Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Stem Cell Research. Dr. Clark is a member of the Hinxton Group, an International consortium of scientists, ethicists and policy makers for the use of pluripotent stem cell derived gametes and the convergence of gene editing technologies and stem cell science.


Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 1.09.37 PMCharles Sklar, MD, Director of MSKCC Long-Term Follow-up Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Presentation: Endocrine, Metabolic and Reproductive Outcomes in Survivors of Childhood Cancer

Dr. Charles Sklar graduated from the University of Southern California School of Medicine. He did his general pediatric training at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and completed specialty training in pediatric endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. Dr. Sklar is currently the Director of the Long-Term Follow-Up Program, an Attending Pediatrician and full Member, Department of Pediatrics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Professor of Pediatrics, Weill Cornell College of Medicine, New York City. He has a long-standing research interest in the endocrine, metabolic and reproductive complications of cancer therapy in survivors of childhood cancer. Areas of particular interest have included the late complications seen in survivors of stem cell transplantation and gonadal function and reproductive outcomes in survivors. He is a founding investigator and member of the Executive Committee for the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, a landmark study funded by the National Cancer Institute that is tracking some 24,000 survivors of childhood cancer treated in North America. Dr. Sklar has authored more than 200 peer reviewed articles, chapters, and reviews.

Featured Article in the Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology

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Congratulations to Francesca Duncan, PhD and her fellow authors in their featured article for the Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology!  This National Physicians Cooperative article, Pediatric and Teen Ovarian Tissue Removed for Cryopreservation Contains Follicles Irrespective of Age, Disease Diagnosis, Treatment History, and Specimen Processing Methods, supports OTC as a promising fertility preservation modality in the young female population as primordial follicles were observed in ovarian tissue from all participants examined, despite population and tissue heterogeneity.  This article is an important product of collaboration among multiple National Physicians Cooperative sites with wonderful leadership by Dr. Duncan.



Successful Soulcycle Event

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 2.02.29 PMWe’re happy to share that National Physicians Cooperative member, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, hosted a successful fundraising event this past Sunday at Soulcycle in Manhattan, New York.  This philanthropic class was sold out and money was raised for Susan G. Komen Foundation in support of breast cancer awareness and oncofertility.  RMANY raised over $3,000 and are donating 100% of funds raised to the Foundation.

New Publication from the Brazilian Oncofertility Consortium

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 11.45.46 AMWe are proud to share that the Brazilian Oncofertility Consortium published a new book in Brazil last month, “Preservação da fertilidade: Uma nova fronteira entre medicina reprodutiva e oncologia”(Translation: Fertility preservation: A new frontier between reproductive medicine and oncology).  This book is intended for health professionals to increase the understanding of fertility preservation in cancer patients.  The publication was organized by the editors Ricardo Marinho, Ana Carolina Rosa e Silva, João Pedro Junqueira and Jhenifer Rodrigues, who are all members of the Brazilian Oncofertility Consortium/Rede Brasileira de Oncofertilidade – BOC.  The book involved collaboration between more than 70 experts (researchers, physicians and psychologists) in reproductive medicine, oncology, gynecology, breast diseases and urology from Brazil and abroad; many of them members of the BOC and Oncofertility Consortium. The book discusses the risk of fertility loss after cancer treatment in men and women and ways to establish new techniques to assist patients in preserving their gametes and achieving a better quality of life after treatment.

Pediatric Oncofertility Research Foundation

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 10.10.47 AMWe are delighted to provide our support to the newly developed Pediatric Oncofertility Research Foundation (PORF).  PORF supports research in the field of fertility preservation for children treated for cancer. The primary goal of the foundation is to allow the choice of future fertility to every child with cancer.

PORF is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Every dollar donated goes directly to pediatric Oncofertility research. All administrative costs, including the costs of building and maintaining the website, are covered by the founding family.  Co-founder, Timothy Brown, is a member of our Patient and Family panel session on Day 2 of the Oncofertility Conference so be sure to register to learn more about this exciting new foundation.

New Publication: Cancer Treatment and the Ovary

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 9.49.30 AMRichard Anderson and Norah Spears co-edited a definitive book on Cancer Treatment and the Ovary and enlisted a global list of experts to ensure that comprehensive and up-to-date information is included.  This newly-released book is targeted to oncologists and reproductive specialists and its chapters are written in a manner that will interest the expert and trainee alike.  Richard Anderson states his goal ‘is to provide an accessible but authoritative resource for all working in the field’ and Norah Spears further indicates ‘we believe that this is the first book that brings together all the various aspects of the field, from ongoing laboratory research through to current clinical practice’.  Teresa Woodruff is a contributor to the book and notes that ‘this book represents the most important thinking in the field of oncofertility and is a ‘must read’ for our growing academic and clinical community’. Cancer Treatment and the Ovary can be purchased from Elsevier or Amazon (ISBN: 978-0-12-801591-9).

Introducing Jhenifer Rodrigues

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 9.01.29 AMThe Oncofertility Consortium welcomes Jhenifer Rodrigues as the coordinator of the Brazilian Oncofertility Consortium.  Jhenifer is a biologist with a Bachelors in Biologic Sciences with specialization on Clinical Embryology by the Rede Latinoamericana de Reprodução Assistida (Red Lara) – Latin America Network of Assisted Reproduction.  She also has a master’s degree and PhD in Sciences – Biology of Reproduction by University of São Paulo.  Her training was done at the Oregon National Primate Center/Oregon Health and Science University with Richard Stouffer, PhD and Mary Zelinski, PhD where she worked on the development of in vitro maturation conditions for primate follicles.  She worked in Brazil for 4 years as an embryologist and coordinator of the Department of Research and Development at Pró-Criar Medicina Reprodutiva.  Their research involved ovarian tissue transport and cryopreservation and follicle in vitro maturation (bovine and human).  She is now working as a consultant with In Vitro Consultoria and for the Brazilian Oncofertility Consortium on topics in Assisted Reproduction technologies and Oncofertility.  She assists clinics on cases, courses and training, and program implementation relating to research projects and product development.  She created the BOC website and co-edited the first book on Oncofertility for Brazil.  Jhenifer Rodrigues is now assisting other Latin American countries with their programs and is a great leader in the Global Oncofertility Network.  According to Oncofertility Consortium Director, Teresa Woodruff, PhD, “Grassroots leadership has been critical to the rapid increase in Oncofertility programs around the globe.  Jhenifer has been a tireless advocate for oncofertility patients and in her current role, is having a huge impact on the lives of many Brazilian men and women.”

Oncofertility University

oncofertuOncofertility University is a community collaboration to promote oncofertility education in the clinical setting. Fertile Action produced two online courses for oncology nurses with funding from the California Cryobank. Dr. Leonard Sender, an advisor on the project and co-leader of the Oncofertility Think Tank invented the idea of an agnostic place for everyone worldwide to gather and share resources they can implement in their own institution. It’s the education and resource website outside of a single institution. We don’t have an operating budget or operators! We just have a group of professionals who launched phase 1: global, online education accessible to all oncology nurses who are on the front-lines of cancer care for pediatric and AYA cancer patients. Students can complete each course in less than an hour and we have supplemental materials listed for additional reading. we have over 600 students in 66 countries already!

You can find us at and

Our courses:



Oncofertility in the news!

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The Chicago Tribune recently published an article, Kids with Cancer get Futuristic Chance at Saving Fertility, describing the role of ovarian and testicular freezing in saving future fertility for pediatric cancer patients.  The article highlighted patient and parent stories from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL.

While the decision can be overwhelming for all patients considering fertility preservation options in the face of a cancer diagnosis, it is even more challenging for parents making the decision on their child’s behalf.  However, parents interviewed for the article outlined that they feel better knowing that they’ve done what they can to preserve the option for their child if they elect to have a fmaily in the future.

Read more HERE


Moving Beyond Cancer

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The Oncofertility Consortium was highlighted in the Spring 2015 issue of Northwestern Medicine Magazine in the article “Moving Beyond Cancer“.  In this issue, Holly and Richard Manprisio, and their journey to build a family, are highlighted.  Holly conquered stage 4 Hodgkins lymphoma when she was just 13 and was followed closely by the STAR Survivorship Program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.  At age 28 she was faced with a breast cancer diagnosis and was able to bank eggs before undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, and further treatment with Tamoxifen.  Happily, Holly and Richard have welcomed twin boys, Ethan and Benjamin into the world thanks to the Oncofertility Consortium, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s HospitalSTAR Program and Northwestern Medicine!



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