WRHR: About Us

This program is no longer active as of February 28, 2016.

The theme that unites the mentors involved in the Women’s Reproductive Health Research program at Washington University School of Medicine is the translation of basic research into patient-oriented, clinical research to improve women’s health. 

This uniting concept is shared by our specific focal areas of expertise including: 1) Women’s Infectious Diseases; 2) Endometrial Cancer: Genetics and Cancer Disparities; 3) Developmental Biology: Stem Cells and Origins of Adult Disease; 4) Behavioral Health, Health Disparities and Contraception; 5) Developmental Neurology and Maternal-Fetal Physiology; and 6) Placental Biology and Maternal-Fetal Interaction.

The main objective in amassing this group of mentors was ensuring that the research base would be broad and relevant to current and future areas of women’s reproductive health. The secondary objective was that the environment would stimulate and increase the interactions between basic scientists and clinical investigators likely to benefit from mentored research career development. This Phase II component, combined with the didactics of Phase I in which all scholars will participate, uses the strengths of our basic science tradition and the translational emphasis placed on clinical medicine to produce an outstanding opportunity for significant career development.

The goal of the Women’s Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) program at Washington University School of Medicine is to promote the performance of research and transfer of findings that will benefit the health of women through the development of well-qualified physician-scientists. The program will achieve this goal by providing each scholar with a core seminar series essential for his/her development as an independent investigator in women’s health, a suitable mentor who can provide the guidance and expertise to assure successful academic development and skills as an independent investigator, and the research infrastructure and adequate protected time to create an environment conducive to investigation into women’s health.

This program is unique in that both basic and clinical science tracks separately are available to scholars; however, they train with mentors who cross disciplines and are exposed to both, to be able to interact and translate their own training into cooperative research.

See WRHR curriculum »

The leadership, George A. Macones, MD, as the principal investigator, and Kelle H. Moley, MD, as the program director, reflects this interactive and cooperative approach to career development in reproductive sciences. Their distinct backgrounds and different career pathways — Macones in clinical research and Moley in the basic translational research — create a juxtaposition of complementary leadership styles. Their combined efforts and vision represent the melding of academic backgrounds necessary to perform outstanding investigative science in the area of reproductive health. In addition, such a multidisciplinary program, emphasizing both clinical and basic research equally, will attract the best and brightest scholars. This quality sets this career development program apart from those preceding it at other locations.

Washington University School of Medicine is consistently ranked among the top medical schools in the United States by U.S.News & World Report, and it has a rich scientific history in basic and clinical science research. Given our existing strengths, we believe the theme that unites the mentors involved in this WRHR program is the translation of basic research into patient-oriented, clinical research to improve women’s health. This uniting concept is shared by our specific focus areas of expertise including: 1) women’s infectious diseases (Gordon, Hultgren and Peipert); 2) endometrial cancer: genetics and cancer disparities (Colditz, Goodfellow, Milbrandt, Mutch and Rader); 3) developmental biology: stem cells and origins of adult disease (Gottlieb, Moley, Schaffer, Schedl and Semenkovich); 4) behavioral health, health disparities and contraception (Cottler, Gehlert and Peipert); 5) developmental neurology and maternal fetal physiology (Holtzman, Inder and VanEssen); and 6) placental biology and maternal fetal interaction (Atkinson, Nelson and Yokoyama).

Principal investigator: George Macones, MD, MSCE

George Macones, MD, MSCE, principal investigator for the Washington University WRHR Career Development Program, is the Mitchell and Elaine Yanow Professor and Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In addition to directing a T32 in reproductive epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, Macones has been or is principal investigator for a number of NIH grants focused on reproductive epidemiologic studies. Macones has completed a large retrospective cohort study/nested case-control study to investigate the incidence and risk factors for uterine rupture among women attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean section. This project has resulted in more than 25 peer-reviewed publications. Macones was the PI on an NIH-funded, multicenter, randomized clinical trial to test indomethacin as a tocolytic agent. He is also PI of an R01 for a prospective assessment to develop a predictive index for a successful trial of labor among women with a prior cesarean delivery (data analysis underway). Macones was awarded a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health to develop a Center of Excellence for Research on Pregnancy Outcomes. Macones still serves as PI for this center, and the primary study funded through this center is a multicenter RCT to test whether screening and treating periodontal disease in pregnancy can reduce the occurrence of spontaneous preterm birth. Lastly, Macones is also the PI of a R01 from the National Cancer Institute to assess the relationship between LEEP and preterm birth.

Macones has received national and international recognition for his research, including best oral presentation in the first plenary session at the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine in 2001 and best international research at the Japanese Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Macones has served as an ad hoc reviewer for a variety of NIH/NICHD study sections and is currently a chartered member of the Infectious Disease, Reproductive Health, Asthma, and Pulmonary Conditions (IRAP) study section at the NIH Center for Scientific Review. He serves on the international editorial board for BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and is currently associate editor for AJOG: American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Macones has also served as a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on Reproductive Health Drugs. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and is a member of the program committee for that Society’s annual meeting. Most recently, Macones was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Program director: Kelle H. Moley, MD

Kelle H. Moley, MD, is the program director for the Washington University School of Medicine WRHR Career Development Program. Moley is the James P. Crane Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and vice chair for basic research. She is also director of the Division of Basic Science Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University. She is an international expert in the field of glucose transporter biology and highly regarded for her work in preimplantation embryogenesis and implantation in mammalian models of maternal metabolic diseases. She has been continuously funded by NIH RO1s since 1999 and has published more than 85 manuscripts in high-impact, peer-reviewed basic science and translational science journals. She is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, director of the Division of Basic Science Research, and board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

Moley serves in key leadership roles both at the university and nationally. She is an active member of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation (program chair 2007, council member 2008-11), the Society for the Study of Reproduction (chair of the Clinical Outreach Committee), the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (representative to the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology), serves as co-chair of the Selection Committee of the Reproductive Scientist Development Program, and is one of six associate editors of the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism. Moley also serves as fellowship director of the Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Fellowship Program at Washington University. Moley serves as co-PI on a T32 in reproductive sciences held by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Moley is also on the steering committee of the Markey Pathway for biomedical training of doctoral students and serves as director of the Clinical Mentorship Program. Recently, she was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Advisory committee

The Advisory Committee for the Program is composed of Senior members of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and selected Senior Leaders in other Departments at Washington University with a strong interest in women’s health and the training and development of new investigators. The committee will be responsible for two major functions: 1. Evaluation of progress of and applications from WRHR scholar candidates, and 2. Overall conduct of the WUSM WRHR Program.  Additional tasks will include making recommendations to the Principal Investigator as to WRHR scholar appointments and evaluating ongoing activities on an annual basis.  The composition of the committee includes a variety of research interests and backgrounds in order to reflect the diversity of programs/departments all interested in Women’s Reproductive Health Research at Washington University and to maximize the overall experience represented on the committee.

George A. Macones, MD, MSCI
Mitchell and Elaine Yanow Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Kelle H. Moley, MD
James P. Crane Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Vice Chair of Basic Science Research
Director, Basic Science Research

Dave Mutch, MD
Ira C. and Judith Gall Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Vice Chair of Gynecology
Director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology

Jeffrey Peipert, MD, MPH, MHA
Robert J. Terry Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Vice Chair of Clinical Research

Alan Schwartz, MD, PhD
Chairman, Department of Pediatrics
Executive Director, Children’s Discovery Institute
Pediatrician-in-Chief, St. Louis Children’s Hospital
Professor of Developmental Biology
The Harriet B. Spoehrer Prfessor, Department of Pediatrics

Laura Bierut, MD
Alumni Endowed Professor of Psychiatry

Scott Hultgren,PhD
Helen L. Stover Professor of Molecular Microbiology
Director, Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research

Jean Schaffer, MD
Virginia Minnich Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Director, Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Center and Diabetes Research Center

Wayne Yokoyama, MD
Sam J. Levin and Audrey Loew Levin Chair for Research on Arthritis
Professor, Pathology and Immunology
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Director, Medical Scientist Training Program

WRHR outside consultants

In addition to the Program evaluation by the Advisory Committee, a separate group of two outside expert consultants are asked to review the Program and provide a consultant’s view of the Program, its objectives, and its progress.

Dr. E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA
Vice President for Medical Affairs
John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor
Dean of the School of Medicine
Professor, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medicine, and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
University of Maryland

Dr. Jerome Strauss III, MD, PhD
Dean, School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System
Virginia Commonwealth University


Amber Cooper, MD, MSCI

Title: Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Education: B.S. Michigan State University (1999), M.D. Loyola University – Chicago (2003)
Residency: Obstetrics & Gynecology: Washington University School of Medicine (2007)
Fellowship: Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility: Washington University School of Medicine (2010
Board Certification: General Obstetrics and Gynecology (2007)

Societies, Memberships, and Honors: American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Member; American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Member; International Society for Fertility Preservation, Member; Society for Gynecologic Investigation, Member; Society for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, Associate Member

Areas of Clinical Interest: Infertility, primary ovarian insufficiency/premature ovarian failure, reproductive genetics, IVF, fertility preservation, reproductive endocrinology, mullerian anomalies, reproductive surgery, and reproductive health in patients with autoimmune disease.


Emily Jungheim, MD, MSCI

Title: Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Education: M.D. Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine (2001)
Residency: Obstetrics & Gynecology: Duke University Medical Center (2005)
Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility: Washington University School of Medicine (2008)
Board Certification: General Obstetrics and Gynecology

Societies, Memberships, and Honors:
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Junior Fellow; American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Associate Member; Society of Gynecologic Investigation, In Training Member; Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Associate Member

Invited Reviewer, Fertility & Sterility

Phi Beta Kappa
Ortho-McNeil Medical Student Teaching Award (2002), Society for Gynecologic Investigation, Wyeth President’s Presenter Award (2007)