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Helping Young Cancer Patients Protect Their Fertility

Researcher Teresa Woodruff is posed before a grey wall, wearing a red coat. She has blond hair and large glasses.
Teresa Woodruff works to ensure that her reproductive-health research findings are translated to the clinical care of women at risk of losing their fertility due to cancer treatment. To describe this effort, she coined the term oncofertility. (Image credit: Courtesy Office of Teresa Woodruff, Institute for Women's Health Research, Feinberg School of Medicine)

This ScienceLives article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

As a reproductive endocrinologist, Teresa Woodruff has spent the better part of her research career focusing on female reproductive health and infertility.

"What we're trying to ensure is that young people who have a cancer diagnosis and are going to be sterilized by that treatment or would have been sterilized by that treatment have options to protect their fertility for a later family that they might want to build,"she said.

As founder and director of the Institute for Women's Health Research, Woodruff has been an advocate for gender specificity in clinical trials, as a way to better understand the effects that various technologies and procedures have on women. As an educator and mentor, she encourages young women to pursue careers in the sciences, and helped develop the Oncofertility Saturday Academy to involve high school girls in college-level science.

Learn more about Teresa Woodruff, a recent recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, in the video below.

Name: Teresa K. Woodruff Institution: Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University Field of Study: Reproductive Endocrinology

Editor's Note: The researchers depicted in ScienceLives articles have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the federal agency charged with funding basic research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. See the ScienceLives archive.