The Woodruff Lab contributes to the Women’s Health Research Institute and Oncofertility Consortium blogs. Read the latest information disseminated from these blogs below:  

NPC Member Spotlight: University of Pittsburgh

We’re exited to begin a new blog series to spotlight National Physicians Cooperative member institutions!  If your institution is a member of the NPC, submit your information to us for development of an institution-specific page on the Oncofertility Consortium website, as well as a blog post, to  If you are interested in learning more about how to join the NPC, contact Brigid Smith at or (312)503-2506.


Upcoming events with SHARE

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SHARE, a support group for women facing breast and ovarian cancer,  has some great free webinars coming up and all are invited to participate!

Metastatic Breast Cancer:  On Thursday, January 29, from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM EST, Dr. Shari Goldfarb of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will answer the question, “What’s New in the Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer?” She’ll describe how the research findings presented at last month’s San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium  are relevant for people living with metastatic disease.

Sign up for this free webinar here:

Science literacy helps answer life’s questions

Understanding science isn’t just important to scientists and health care professionals, a basic understanding of science is critical for all people to participate fully in the national and international conversation.   A recent issue of The Conversation, discusses the importance of science literacy in today’s world whether we are trying to learn the facts about Ebola or wanting to learn what stem cell research is.   Many of our public policies and regulations need to be based on facts and not politics and biased headline reporting.

Sex differences may be found in COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, the third leading cause of death in the U.S., was thought to primarily affect men.   But in recent years, the number of women with COPD has significantly increased and today more women than men die of COPD.  This increase was originally thought to be a latent effect due to the  increase in smoking in women in the 1060′s but new research suggests that some other sex effects may be in play.

Compounded Bioidentical Hormone Therapy under scrutiny

 Unsubstantiated claims, lack of scientific safety and efficacy data, and lack of quality control continue to surround custom-compounded bioidentical hormone products and yet, many women seem to believe that they are somehow “safer” than lab synthesized hormones.   FDA-approved hormone therapy provides tested and regulated therapy without the risks of unregulated and untested custom preparations that often include custom compounded therapies.

Improving Health for LGBT Patients

Feinberg School of Medicine faculty helped create the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) first guidelines for medical schools on improving health care for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), gendering nonconforming or born with differences of sex development (DSD).

“This resource guide is important because these populations have been historically disproportionately harmed or neglected in the medical system,” said Alice Dreger, PhD, professor of Clinical Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern University and member of the AAMC Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Sex Development. “By being a part of this committee I hope I am helping to seed a new generation of doctors who will know how to really help patients in these populations.”

Fireworks fly when sperm fertilizes egg!

Sparks literally fly when a sperm and an egg hit it off. The fertilized mammalian egg releases from its surface billions of zinc atoms in “zinc sparks,” one wave after another, a Northwestern University-led interdisciplinary research team has found. Researchers at Northwestern developed technology that captured images of these fireworks.  According to Dr. Teresa Woodruff, PhD part of the team studying this phenomenon and director of the Women’s Health Research Institute at NU, “The amount of zinc released by an egg could be a great marker for  identifying a high-quality fertilized egg, something we haven’t been able to do.  Once we can, fewer embryos would need to be transferred during fertility treatments.”
View a WGN-TV segment on the new discovery HERE.