About the Woodruff Lab
Welcome to the Woodruff Lab, a team of research faculty, post-doctoral professionals, graduate students, and lab technicians devoted to the study of ovarian health and development. We are working in three main areas. The first is ovarian follicle development, the study of the formation and maturation of the ovarian follicle, which is the basic functional unit of the ovary. The follicle includes somatic cells (which make hormones like estrogen and inhibin) and the oocyte (or egg). We are attempting to isolate the factors that regulate follicle and oocyte maturation and to understand the mechanisms of follicle and oocyte survival and death. The second focus of the Woodruff Lab is to develop an in vitro follicle culture systems that can mimic the normal in vivo patterns of follicle development. The end goal of this research is to allow us to successfully remove healthy ovarian tissue from a cancer patient, safely store it until the patient has completed their treatment, and then to either harvest follicles from the tissue in an effort to grow them, or surgically transplant the tissue to restore natural ovulation. Our third area of study is on the endocrine hormones inhibin and activin, which govern the reproductive cycle. Work on these hormones is essential to an understanding of healthy reproductive cyclicity and on the treatment of infertility.