College of
Human
Medicine

2010

Researcher brings $6.8 million award to MSU College of Human Medicine

April 28, 2010

Center for Women's Health and Reproduction Research moves to Grand Rapids

West Michigan has become the new home for a $6.8 million center for women’s health and reproduction research, thanks to the collaborative efforts by the Spectrum Health – Michigan State University Alliance and Van Andel Institute in the recruitment of leading infertility researcher Asgi T. Fazleabas, Ph.D.

Dr. Fazleabas has been director of a Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproduction and Infertility Research (SCCPIR) at the University of Illinois, now in its eighth year of funding which is supported by a $6.8 million award by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The Center and its funding moved to Michigan State University April 2010, where Dr. Fazleabas is now professor and associate chair in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.

 “Dr. Fazleabas brings an extensive international research portfolio in the area of women’s reproductive health to the region,” said Marsha D. Rappley, M.D., dean, MSU College of Human Medicine. “The collective recruitment efforts of the Spectrum Health – Michigan State University Alliance with Van Andel Institute have once again resulted in an internationally renowned center of excellence in Grand Rapids.”

“Spectrum Health looks forward to the expertise and depth of knowledge that Dr. Fazleabas brings to the women’s health area,” said Matt Van Vranken, executive vice president, Spectrum Health and president, Spectrum Health Hospital Group. “A researcher and professor of his caliber is an asset to MSU College of Human Medicine as well as to Spectrum Health and the patients we serve. The combination of clinical care, research and academics being established here are significant for our physicians and patients of today and tomorrow.”

MSU’s Center for Women’s Health and Reproduction Research/SCCPIR is one of 15 nationwide and is housed in the Van Andel Institute, also where the college’s $6.8 million Udall Center for Parkinson’s Disease Research is located. Dr. Fazleabas will continue to serve as the director of the SCCPIR Center. Richard Leach, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology is also a Principal Investigator on a Center project. Other project Principal Investigators include Serdar Bulun of Northwestern University and Romana Nowak at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

About Asgi Fazleabas

Dr. Asgerally (Asgi) Fazleabas is professor and associate chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology and Director of the Center for Women’s Health Research at Michigan State University. Dr. Fazleabas is considered a leading authority in the field of uterine biology, blastocyst implantation and endometriosis. His publications in his area of expertise exceed 155 peer-reviewed publications in highly prestigious journals and several reviews and book chapters. Dr. Fazleabas has had continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his research since 1986 and also had several NIH Fogarty grants for both collaborative research and the training of young scientists from Kenya. Dr. Fazleabas’ scientific contributions have gained him national and international recognition. Most recently he was selected to receive the 2010 Distinguished Research award from the Society for the Study of Reproduction. Dr. Fazleabas serves on numerous NIH Study Sections including chairing the Reproductive Biology/Cellular, Molecular and Integrative Reproduction Study Section as well as several other national and international grant review panels. He directed the prestigious Frontiers in Reproduction Course in Woods Hole and chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Reproductive Tract Biology. He served as President of the Society for the Study of Reproduction in 2009 and is a member of the Editorial Boards of many prestigious journals. A hallmark of Dr. Fazleabas’ contributions to the field of uterine biology and endometriosis is evidenced by the numerous invitations he receives to speak at national and international meetings and symposia.

About the SCCPIR at Michigan State University
The objective of the SCCPIR at Michigan State University is to conduct innovative basic and clinical research in the reproductive sciences. The interactive research capabilities of this group of nationally and internationally recognized scientists are undertaking a focused approach to study the pathophysiology of endometriosis and how it affects implantation and development of a successful pregnancy. Endometriosis is a disease that affects one in ten women and has an economic societal cost of $22 billion. A better understanding of endometriosis is critical for improving the quality of life of women who suffer from this disease. The Center functions by fostering rapid applications of new knowledge and technology, enhancing research projects with extensive collaboration, and by using the shared core resources of the Van Andel Institute, Spectrum Health and MSU – which results in greater productivity, at a reduced cost.

About the Spectrum Health – Michigan State University Alliance Corporation
The Alliance represents the agreement between Spectrum Health and Michigan State University to collaborate on medical school faculty recruitment, research initiatives and facility development. The alliance is a 501c3 organization created to jointly recruit and fund physicians/researchers who will serve as faculty as well as contribute to our aggressive agenda for clinical research. Spectrum Health and Michigan State University jointly fund these positions and the resulting research initiatives. This collaborative effort will bring significant benefits to patients in West Michigan who will have access to breakthrough therapies and treatments. In addition, the alliance reflects Spectrum Health’s commitment to support the creation of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine building in Grand Rapids.

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Asgi FazleabasResearcher Asgi T. Fazleabas, Ph.D., 
professor and associate chair of 
MSU College of Human Medicine 
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology 
and Reproductive Biology.
Photo courtesy of Brian Kelly