September 17, 2014

Frontiers in Reproduction


Course Date: May 2 – June 14, 2015

Deadline: January 14, 2015 | Online Application Form

Lectures (PDF): Weeks 1-2; 3-4; 5-6

2014 Frontiers in Reproduction Symposium Schedule

FIR Course Website

Lead Director: Mario Ascoli, University of Iowa
Directors: Lane Christenson, Kansas University Medical Center; Rafael Fissore, University of Massachusetts; and Lawrence Reynolds, North Dakota State University


An intensive six-week laboratory and lecture course designed for advanced graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, newly independent scientists and physicians who seek training in modern state-of-the-art methods and a broad view of current concepts in all areas of reproductive biology.

The FIR course is divided into three sections of two weeks’ duration and covers the following broad themes:

Section 1 – Reproductive endocrinology focused on the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis.

Section 2 – Gametogenesis, fertilization, cloning, and stem cells.

Section 3 –Implantation, development of the reproductive tract and transgenesis.

Each section consists of lectures from faculty and world-renowned scientists in the field of reproductive science. Discussions, informal seminars, laboratory exercises, demonstrations, and one-on-one tutorials comprise a typical day in the FIR course.

Section 1 covers signal transduction and gene expression in reproductive endocrinology. The lecture series emphasizes the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and the role of peptide and steroid signaling, receptor structure/function, and transcription and post-transcriptional gene regulation. The laboratories of this section are designed to provide students with the methodological know how to study: (a) signaling pathways associated with both cell surface and nuclear receptors; (b) transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression; and (c) the use of bioinformatics tools for mining public databases.

Section 2 is focused on gametogenesis, fertilization, cloning, and stem cells. The lectures explore dynamic aspects of germ cell and embryo behaviors such as cell-cell interactions, signaling, chromatin remodeling, and differences between meiotic and mitotic cell cycle progression. These lectures are complemented by laboratories that are designed to provide hands on experience with: (a) culture, maturation and analysis of ovarian follicles and mouse oocytes; (b) transplantation of germ cells; (c) analysis of meiotic cell cycle control; (d) assisted reproductive technologies; and (e) embryonic stem cells, nuclear transfer, and cloning. In Section 2 students are trained in the use of state of the art imaging systems.

Section 3 covers transgenic technology including use of stem cells, development of the reproductive tracts and gonads, maternal-fetal interactions including implantation, uterine decidualization and placentation, angiogenesis of the reproductive system, and immunology of pregnancy. Additional lectures cover clinical topics such as endometriosis, preterm delivery, and endometrial cancer. The labs in Section 3 focus on techniques associated with the lecture topics, including:(a) generation of transgenic and knockout mice;(b) cell migration and invasion assays;(c) tissue dissections, recombinations, and organ culture; (d) laser capture microdissection; (e) image analysis and flow cytometry.

Spread throughout the course are discussions on professional development such as publishing, grant preparation and review, and ethics. The Frontiers in Reproduction course concludes with a two-day symposium featuring seminars by distinguished speakers and short research presentations by current and previous participants.

This course is supported with funds provided by:
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Society for the Study of Reproduction (Anita Payne Scholarship)
The American Society for Cell Biology
March of Dimes

Substantial financial aid is available to admitted applicants regardless of nationality. Scholarships are based on need and may cover the majority of course and travel costs.

2013 Faculty & Lecturers:

Bartolomei, Marisa, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Borowicz, Pawel, North Dakota State University
Breton, Sylvie, Massachusetts General Hospital
Broaddus, Russell, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Campo-Engelstein, Lisa, Albany Medical College
Carroll, David, Florida Institute of Technology
Cibelli, Jose, Michigan State University
Cohen, Paula, Cornell University
Conley, Alan, University of California Davis
Conti, Marco, University of California San Francisco
Cooke, Paul, University of Florida
Cupp, Andrea, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Demayo, Francesco, Baylor College of Medicine
Dobrinski, Ina, University of Calgary
Egli, Dieter, New York Stem Cell Foundation
Fazleabas, Asgi, Michigan State University
Florman, Harvey, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Grazul-Bilska, Anna, North Dakota State University
Hadjantonakis, Anna-Katerina, Sloan-Kettering Institute
Hammes, Stephen, University of Rochester Medical Center
Handel, Mary Ann, The Jackson Laboratory
Heckert, Leslie, University of Kansas Medical Center
Hinton, Barry, University of Virginia
Hornick, Jessica, Northwestern University
Jaffe, Laurinda, University of Connecticut Health Center
Johnson, Greg, Texas A&M University
Jorgensen, Joan, University of Wisconsin
Korach, Kenneth, NIEHS/NIH
Kuhn, Robert, University of California Santa Cruz
Mehlmann, Lisa, University of Connecticut Health Center
Norwitz, Errol, Tufts University School of Medicine
Orwig, Kyle, University of Pittsburgh
Palermo, Gianpiero, Weill Cornell Medical College
Pate, Joy, Penn State University
Payne, Christopher, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Petroff, Margaret, University of Kansas Medical Center
Raetzman, Lori, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Rando, Oliver, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Richards, Joanne, Baylor College of Medicine
Rivera, Jaime, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Rodriguez, Sarah, Northwestern University
Schultz, Richard, University of Pennsylvania
Seminara, Stephanie, Massachusetts General Hospital
Smith, Carolyn, Baylor College of Medicine
Spencer, Thomas, Washington State University
Steiner, Robert, University of Washington
Sutherland, Ann, University of Virginia
Visconti, Pablo, University of Massachusetts
Wadsworth, Pat, University of Massachusetts
Williams, Carmen, NIH/NIEHS