World Class Investigators

February 3, 2021

Of the 15 scientists worldwide honored as Distinguished Fellows by the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) this year, two are professors in the College of Human Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.

Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Michigan State University, and Asgi Fazleabas, PhD, the department’s associate chair for research, both received the society’s highest professional honor for outstanding contributions to the scientific discipline of reproductive biology.

“It certainly is an honor for the college and the department that two of our esteemed faculty members have been recognized for their pioneering research and leadership in the field of reproductive biology,” said Richard Leach, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. “Both Dr. Woodruff and Dr. Fazleabas are early pioneers in reproductive medicine and really shaped how reproductive medicine has advanced over the years.”

SSR, the world’s leading organization supporting the study of reproduction, created the Distinguished Fellowship award to recognize “the impact of active SSR members and their outstanding contributions to the field of reproductive biology.” Fewer than 2 percent of the society’s members in 50 countries around the world have been named Distinguished Fellows.

Woodruff is an internationally recognized expert in ovarian biology and reproductive science. In 2006, she coined the term “oncofertility” to describe the merging fields of oncology and fertility. In 2011, President Obama presented her with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring.

Among her many titles, Woodruff is an MSU Foundation Professor of Obstetrics Gynecology, Reproductive Biology, and Biomedical Engineering. She holds 13 U.S. patents, and this year received the Endocrine Society’s Laureate Award recognizing the highest achievements in the field of endocrinology.

Woodruff is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Before joining MSU as provost in August of 2020, she was the dean and associate provost for graduate education in the Graduate School at Northwestern University.

Fazleabas, who holds the titles of University Distinguished Professor and MSU Foundation Professor, has received numerous awards for his research into endometriosis and infertility. The National Institutes of Health has continuously funded his research since 1986. His research has led to significant improvements in pregnancy outcomes for infertile women and has increased understanding of the causes of endometriosis.

Fazleabas is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has been a recipient of the SSR’s Research Award, Distinguished Service Award, and the Carl G. Hartman Award.

His many responsibilities at MSU include serving as co-director of the Reproductive and Developmental Sciences Program.