Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality

Supporting breakthrough research on ovarian aging and women in science through funding, training, infrastructure and collaborative intellectual networks.

With the intramural establishment of the Center for Reproductive Longevity and Equality (CRLE), the Buck Institute has pioneered the first facility that focuses solely on female aging as it relates to equality. Now, through the generous support of the Bia Echo Foundation, the Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality (GCRLE), launched as an extramural start-up initiative through the Buck Institute.

The GCRLE is advancing research to better understand the underlying causes of female reproductive aging. The end of fertility sets off a cascade of negative health effects in a woman's body. As a society, every aspect of a woman's life is influenced by the fact that reproductive capacity is limited -- overall health, family planning, career decisions. Despite its profound impact on health and well-being, female reproductive aging is an understudied topic.  

Through funding, collaboration, and innovation, we intend to accelerate the pace of discovery and inform the path to intervention. We believe we can profoundly alter the societal balance toward equality for women by defining what leads to menopause and developing interventions to slow or reverse it. Our goal is to build the field to understand the basic biological mechanisms that trigger female reproductive senescence, from the earliest stages through to menopause, and ultimately leverage this understanding to intervene and balance the scales.  

 Peruse our White Paper detailing how reproductive longevity and equality affects us all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The window for submitting applications has closed. 

The awards are open to researchers based at both national and international accredited academic and nonprofit research institutions. Funding mechanisms include:

Senior Faculty Awards  – to support established investigators who are thought leaders in their fields and are recognized for substantial contributions of creative and productive research. We will seek to complement other major funders of research by placing emphasis on projects that may not be supported by traditional sources because of their perceived novelty or high risk, or because the investigator is moving into female reproductive aging from a different research area.

Junior Faculty Awards – to support newly independent investigators with outstanding promise when they are establishing their own labs and are malleable in the direction of their research. These awards will allow bright young scientists to pursue bold ideas when they are at their most scientifically creative.

Pilot Awards  – to foster innovative collaborative or novel research projects that have the potential for high impact and high reward at an accelerated rate. These awards will allow collection of preliminary data to apply for larger grants.

Postdoctoral Fellowships  – to increase the number of imaginative, well-trained junior scientists who will form the next generation of reproductive aging researchers. These awards will facilitate our efforts to build the field and provide both training and networking opportunities for trainees.

Key points for GCRLE grant applications:

  • The scientific narrative of the application is 2-pages and does not require pilot data or experimental results.
  • Total award includes indirect costs.
  • Investigators without a background in reproductive aging are welcome to apply, but should include a detailed description of how the relevant expertise will be acquired.
  • Clinical research is within scope, clinical trials are out of scope.

 

The window for submitting applications has closed.

DECEMBER 23, 2019

Application portal opened

FEBRUARY 18, 2020

Applications due

JUNE 2020

Funding Decisions

Award period and start date: Proposed projects should be two years in duration. Actual start date may vary.

  • Bevin Lin, PhD  Program Director

    Bevin Lin, PhD, joined the Buck Institute as the first Program Director of the Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality. Prior to this, Dr. Lin was at Autodesk supporting business strategy and operations. She has been a White House intern, a chemist at the New Technologies Engineering Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and in program management in Silicon Valley.



    Dr. Lin received her BS in Chemistry from UC Santa Barbara, and her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from UC Davis. She was awarded a National Science Foundation Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology scholarship to conduct medical photonic research for early cancer detection and diagnosis. During her graduate work, she initiated collaboration with Olympus Medical Inc. to explore autofluorescence (AF) endomicroscopy methods, co-authored a spectral micro-imaging patent, and developed a prototype that successfully acquired AF images parallel to histology in seconds rather than days. As an international postdoctoral fellow at the National University of Singapore, her research produced the first application of parallel factor analysis coupled with excitation emission matrix AF spectroscopy for early-stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma detection. She completed a joint MIT-Harvard postdoc fellowship focused on translational biomedical research, before joining the Biomechatronics Group at the MIT Media Lab to establish infrastructure operations while continuing to conduct independent research, write grants, and publish.



    Dr. Lin’s business and management training include corporate leadership workshops, a scholarship to complete the UC Davis Graduate School of Management Business Development Intensive Program, and courses at Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan School of Management.

  • Jennifer Garrison, PhD  Faculty Director

    Jennifer Garrison, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Faculty Director of the Global Consortium for Female Reproductive Longevity and Equality, and co-Director of the Buck-USC Biology of Aging PhD Program. She holds secondary appointments in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California (USC).



    Her research focuses on understanding how chemical communication between the brain and other tissues influences aging. The Garrison lab studies interactions between the ovary and brain during middle age to identify the neuronal factors that lead to the onset of reproductive decline.



    Dr. Garrison received her BA in Molecular Cell Biology from UC Berkeley, completed her PhD at UCSF in Chemistry and Chemical Biology where she was a National Science Foundation Fellow and an ARCS Scholar, and was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rockefeller University. She was named an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Neuroscience Research Fellow and an Allen Institute for Brain Science Next Generation Leader and is the recipient of a Pathway to Independence Award and a Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators from the National Institutes of Health, a Glenn Medical Foundation Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, and a Junior Faculty Award from the American Federation of Aging Research.

  • Melissa Cordeiro  Program Coordinator

    Melissa Cordeiro has 14 years of biotech industry training and experience from a number of Bay Area biotech companies with diverse roles in Research, Process Development, and Manufacturing. She transitioned to project management and administrative coordination for increased responsibilities to organize and guide complex project operations throughout planning, delivery and implementation. She has been a freelance science and medical writer, and an administrative volunteer for an international society.



    Melissa received her BA in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from UC Santa Cruz, and her MA in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Reproductive Biology Hub

We are building a hub facility at the Buck Institute to provide experimental support and training in all aspects of ovarian biology. The goal of this facility is to provide experimental support and training for studies that require expertise in ovarian biology. The hub will be accessible to any lab in the world, including members of the consortium. In addition to state-of-the-art instrumentation and fee-for-service assays, the hub will provide an opportunity for investigators to send lab members to obtain training in the techniques necessary to carry out these experiments in their home labs. By providing resources to plan and execute experiments using ovarian tissue, we hope to lower the barrier to entry and grow the field.

Bioinformatics Core

IT and big data are essential to advancing the field. Thus, we are building a bioinformatics core that will provide analytic tools for multi-omics projects to investigators who are part of the Consortium. To accelerate the discovery process, the bioinformatics core will also compile and organize large datasets generated by the consortium to be made available to consortium scientists first and later to the scientific community at large.

A Scientific Advisory Panel composed of leaders in the field from all over the world will review, identify and recommend the most promising grant applications based on quality of science, impact and alignment with the Consortium’s stated goals.

2020 Scientific Advisory Council, Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality

  • Marcelle Cedars, MD  University of California, San Francisco

    Dr. Marcelle Cedars is the Director of the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health, the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and is a clinical specialist in the fields of in vitro fertilization, perimenopause and polycystic ovarian ovary syndrome (PCOS). As Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, she coordinates the relationship between science and research being done at UCSF and personalized care for medical center patients. Cedars received her medical training at the University of Texas Southwestern School Of Medicine,
    completed her residency in Obstetrics and
    Gynecology at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, and did her fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology at UCLA. Her clinical and research interests include ovarian aging, polycystic ovary syndrome and assisted reproduction. She is an NIH-funded researcher and has chaired the FDA panel on Obstetrical and Gynecological Devices and served as President of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

  • Yap Seng Chong, MD  National University of Singapore

    Professor Yap-Seng Chong has been the Dean of the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, since 1 January 2019. He has also been the Executive Director of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) since 2015.


    As a respected clinician and researcher with a profound interest in women’s health and early development, he is the Lead Principal Investigator of the National Research Foundation Translational and Clinical Research Flagship Program on the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. Yap-Seng is a Senior Consultant in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the National University Hospital (NUH), and a member of the Executive Group of the National University Health System (NUHS) as well as a board member of the National Medical Research Council.


    Yap-Seng has well over 300 peer-reviewed research publications covering topics like the genetic epidemiology of pregnancy-related disorders, intrapartum and postpartum management, natural childbirth, strategies to promote breastfeeding, and the developmental
    origins of health and disease. He has formed multiple academic and industry collaborations with a particular focus in the area of early human development and nutrition, with research grant funding of more than $100 million. For his efforts, Yap-Seng was awarded the National
    Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award by Singapore’s Ministry of Health in 2017.

  • Francesca Duncan, PhD  Northwestern University

    Francesca Duncan graduated from Haverford College with a BS in Biology and Biochemistry (2000) and earned her doctorate in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania (2006). She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Executive Director of
    the Center for Reproductive Science at Northwestern University. She is also an
    Assistant Professor in Residence at the Buck Institute in the Center for Reproductive
    Longevity and Equality. Research in the Duncan laboratory uses mammalian model
    systems to test the overarching hypothesis that deterioration of gamete-intrinsic cellular pathways together with changes in the ovarian microenvironment contribute to the reproductive age-associated decline in egg quantity and quality. The laboratory’s work is at the interface of reproductive aging and systemic aging; physiologic and iatrogenic reproductive aging; gamete, follicle, and ovarian biology; and reproductive science and medicine. Insights from this research will help design targeted interventions to ameliorate reproductive aging, laying the foundation to simultaneously improve female
    fertile-span and health-span across generations. Research in her lab is funded by NIH R01 and R21 awards. Dr. Duncan has 60 manuscripts in the peer-reviewed literature and has been featured in the press. She is the recipient of several honors and awards, including a 2017 Fulbright fellowship and the 2019 Society for the Study of Reproduction Virendra B. Mahesh New Investigator award.

  • Jennifer Garrison, PhD  Buck Institute for Research on Aging

    Jennifer Garrison, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Faculty Director of the Global Consortium for Female Reproductive Longevity and Equality, and co-Director of the Buck-USC Biology of Aging PhD Program. She holds secondary appointments in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California (USC).


    Her research focuses on understanding how chemical communication between the brain and other tissues influences aging. The Garrison lab studies interactions between the ovary and brain during middle age to identify the neuronal factors that lead to the onset of reproductive decline.



    Dr. Garrison received her BA in Molecular Cell Biology from UC Berkeley, completed her PhD at UCSF in Chemistry and Chemical Biology where she was a National Science Foundation Fellow and an ARCS Scholar, and was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rockefeller University. She was named an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Neuroscience Research Fellow and an Allen Institute for Brain Science Next Generation Leader and is the recipient of a Pathway to Independence Award and a Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators from the National Institutes of Health, a Glenn Medical Foundation Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, and a Junior Faculty Award from the American Federation of Aging Research.

  • Marcia Haigis, PhD  Harvard Medical School

    Marcia C. Haigis is a Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. She obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 2002 and performed postdoctoral studies at MIT studying mitochondrial metabolism and aging. Dr. Haigis is an active member of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging, and a member of the Ludwig Center at Harvard Medical School. In 2018, Dr. Haigis was selected for the National Academy of Medicine Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine Program. Her research aims to identify molecular mechanisms by which mitochondria respond to cellular stress and elucidate how these cellular mechanisms contribute to aging and age-related diseases, such as cancer.

  • Bluma Lesch, MD, PhD  Yale University

    Bluma (Bibi) Lesch is an Assistant Professor of Genetics at Yale School of Medicine. She received her PhD in Biological Sciences from Rockefeller University and her MD from Weill Cornell Medical School, and conducted postdoctoral research at Whitehead Institute. She is the recipient of a Burroughs-Wellcome Career Award and was named a 2019 Searle Scholar. Her research focuses on the evolution and regulation of chromatin in the germ line, with an emphasis on the role of histone modifications. She discovered that mammalian germ cells maintain an epigenetically poised state at promoters of somatic developmental genes, and that evolution of poising in the mammalian germ line is linked to evolution of somatic developmental gene regulatory networks. She recently reported that chromatin perturbations during male germ cell development result in epigenetically-inherited cancer susceptibility in a mouse model, uncovering a new contribution of paternal epigenetics to disease. Current research in the Lesch lab is aimed at defining the functional consequences of evolutionary divergence in chromatin state and identifying new mechanisms for regulation of germline chromatin and epigenetic inheritance.

  • Coleen Murphy, PhD  Princeton University

    Coleen T. Murphy is a Professor of Genomics and Molecular Biology at Princeton University. She graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Biophysics, then earned her doctorate in Biochemistry at Stanford University, studying the structure-function determinants of the motor protein myosin. Dr. Murphy became interested in applying new quantitative technologies to approach the question of aging during her postdoctoral work in Dr. Cynthia Kenyon’s lab (UCSF), developing microarray approaches to identify the set of genes downstream of the insulin signaling/FOXO longevity pathway, revealing a a vast array of downstream cellular processes, including
    stress response, proteostasis, metabolism, immunity, autophagy, and intercellular signaling, to extend cellular and organismal maintenance with age.


    In her own lab, Dr. Murphy’s team has developed C. elegans models of human “quality of life” aging phenotypes, such as cognitive aging and reproductive aging; these processes are remarkably well-
    conserved at the molecular level, and her group has identified genetic pathways that can extend these processes with age through the development of quantitative assays and genomic approaches to study
    these aging phenomena.

  • Mitinori Saito, MD, PhD  Kyoto University

    Mitinori Saitou received his MD and PhD (under Prof. Shoichiro Tsukita) from the
    Kyoto University, and performed his postdoctoral work at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute (with Prof. Azim Surani). He was appointed team leader at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in 2003. He was appointed Professor at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in 2009, and Director of the JST ERATO program in 2011. He was appointed Professor at the Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study (KUIAS) and Director of Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology (ASHBi) in 2018. His work focuses on the mechanism and reconstitution in vitro of germ cell development in mice, non-human primates including great apes, and humans.

  • Melina Schuh, PhD  Max Planck Institute

    Melina Schuh’s laboratory studies how errors arise during the meiotic divisions of
    mammalian oocytes. Such errors are the leading cause of miscarriages and the age-
    related decline in female fertility. Her lab carried out the first studies of meiosis in live human oocytes and developed strategies for high content screens for meiotic genes in mammals, as well as a method for the acute degradation of endogenous proteins, called Trim-Away. Recent work from her lab established essential functions for actin in
    acentrosomal spindle assembly, and led to the discovery of the LISD, a liquid-like
    spindle domain, in mammalian oocytes.



    Melina Schuh studied biochemistry at the University of Bayreuth. After completing her PhD at EMBL, Heidelberg (2008), she became a group leader at the MRC LMB in
    Cambridge, UK. Melina Schuh has been a Director at the Max Planck Institute for
    Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany since 2016.

  • Allan Spradling, PhD  Carnegie Institution for Science

    Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan Allan Spradling studied mathematics and physics at the University of Chicago. Switching to biology at MIT, where he earned his PhD. in 1975, Spradling used Drosophila polytene chromosomes as genome arrays to study transcription, and
    found that heat shock causes a universal genetic response.


    Spradling began a long fascination with the Drosophila ovary during a postdoctoral stint at Indiana University, where he discovered that eggshell genes undergo amplification during follicle development. In 1980 he joined the faculty at Carnegie Institution’s Department of Embryology in Baltimore, and two years later he and colleague Gerry Rubin showed how
    transposable elements can be used to introduce DNA into the Drosophila genome. Remaining at Carnegie, Spradling was appointed an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in
    1988, and Director in 1994. Spradling’s group developed methods for using transposon insertions to identify and manipulate Drosophila genes, and these efforts were expanded into the Drosophila Gene Disruption Project, whose freely distributed strains have facilitated Drosophila research worldwide.


    Spradling has become increasingly convinced that the powerful genetics available in model organisms such as Drosophila can be used to advance medical research. Over the last 15 years, his group has investigated the basic biology of tissue stem cells, and in 2000 characterized the
    first stem cell niche. Efforts to understand the parallels between germ cell development in Drosophila and mammals are also continuing to advance.
    A member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) since 1989, Spradling has been awarded many prizes for his work. These include the NAS Molecular Biology Award and the Newcomb Cleveland Prize (both jointly with Gerry Rubin). He has also received the E.J. Conklin Award of the Society for Developmental Biology and the G.W. Beadle Award of the Genetics Society of America. In 2006 Spradling was awarded an honorary PhD from the University of Chicago, and was the 2008 recipient of the Gruber Prize in Genetics as well as the 2018 March of Dimes and Richard B. Johnson, Jr., MD Award in Developmental Biology.

  • Yousin Suh, PhD  Columbia University

    Yousin Suh, Ph.D., is the Charles and Marie Robertson of Reproductive Sciences in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Professor of Genetics and Development, and Director of Reproductive Aging in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia
    University. She investigates the (epi)genetic component that underlies the interface of intrinsic aging and disease. The approach she follows is based on the identification of (epi)genome sequence variants associated with age-related disease risk or its opposite, i.e., an unusual resistance to such disease. For this purpose her target populations are either cohorts of middle-
    aged individuals followed longitudinally for signs of all major age-related diseases, or cohorts of extremely long-lived individuals who managed to ward off such diseases. To tackle the key problem of identifying the functional impact of any observed association, she applies specific functional tests, including in silico modeling, cell culture assays and mouse models. Discoveries thus far made include novel, rare alleles associated with extreme longevity, sirtuin variants that confer risk for heart disease, functional non-coding variants in the gene desert Chr. 9p21 locus
    underlying multiple age-related diseases, longevity-associated miRNAs, and epigenetic signatures of cellular senescence. Her contributions in the field have been recognized by the Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging. She has organized numerous
    international symposiums on functional genomics of aging, is on the Editorial Boards of numerous Journals including PLoS Genetics and Aging Cell as an Associate Editor, and participates in advisory committee members for several research institutions and companies.

More info and ways to engage coming soon.

 

Women in Science

Jennifer Garrison, PhD
Faculty Director, GCRLE
JGarrison@buckinstitute.org
Phone: 415-209-2096


Bevin Lin, PhD
Program Director, GCRLE
Blin@buckinstitute.org
Phone: 415-209-2020

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