UW News

May 29, 2001

UW receives $5.3 million grant to study male reproductive systems

The UW Population Center for Research in Reproduction has received a $5.3 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development(NICHD) to continue its program of basic research and clinical studies in male reproductive processes.

The Population Center is one of 14 in the national network of the Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproductive Research (SCCPRR), supported by the Reproductive Sciences Branch of NICHD.

The research program of the UW Population Center addresses the critical problem of world population growth by pursuing development of a viable male contraceptive. Its immediate goals are to understand the basic biology of male reproductive processes at many levels and to apply this knowledge to clinical problems related to contraceptive development and infertility.

The Population Center’s director is Dr. William J. Bremner, the Robert G. Petersdorf professor of medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine. The UW Center was founded in 1979 by Bremner and Dr. C. Alvin Paulsen, professor emeritus of medicine. In addition to support from NIH, the Center has received assistance from the Contraceptive Research and Development Program (CONRAD) of the Agency for International Development (AID), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Center has also received an NIH Institutional Training Grant in Reproductive Biology (Dr. Robert A. Steiner, director).

The SCCPRR promotes multidisciplinary interactions between basic and clinical scientists and cooperative research among the various centers.

The UW Population Center is active in both areas. Center investigators conduct a broad and diverse research program, drawing on the knowledge and techniques of molecular and cell biology, genetics, biophysics, physiology, neurobiology, and clinical medicine. Their projects range from in vivo and in vitro studies of the molecular physiology of the brain and testis to clinical trials of new contraceptive agents in men.

The NIH grant supports five separate research projects and two core service units within the Center. Investigators and their studies are:

* Bremner and Dr. Alvin M. Matsumoto, Department of Medicine, Hormonal Control of Human Testicular Function;

* Dr. G. Stanley McKnight and Dr. Kimberly Burton, Department of Pharmacology, Role of cAMP and Ca2+ Dependent Protein Kinases in Spermatogenesis;

* Dr. Bertil Hille and Dr. Donner Babcock, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Control of Cells of the Reproductive Axis;

* Dr. Robert Braun, Department of Genetics, Androgen Regulation of Spermatogenesis;

* Dr. Robert A. Steiner, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Physiology and Biophysics and Dr. Donald K. Clifton, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neuroendocrine Genes Governing Reproduction in Primates.

The Center also supports the Administrative and Biostatistics Core and the Molecular Biology/Transgenics Core (Kimberly Burton, director), which provide scientific and administrative support services to the investigators. In addition, two units will provide services to the entire national network of SCCPRR centers: the Male Reproductive Genetics Database (Robert Braun, director) and the Gene Array Facility (G. Stanley McKnight, director).