A grant has been awarded to Dr. Diana Monsivais, a postdoctoral associate in pathology and immunology at Baylor College of Medicine, from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, which will help further her research on infertility treatments.
Monsivais’ research will focus on ways to improve current infertility treatments by studying the signaling pathways that regulate implantation and post-implantation processes in the uterus.
“I hope that my research will improve our understanding about maternal and embryonic interactions during early pregnancy,” said Monsivais. “In particular, these studies will allow us to define the factors that control maternal receptivity to an implanting embryo.”
Her research will be conducted by using genetically engineered mouse models and human tissues obtained from the assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinic. “The many tools available at Baylor, as well as the funds from this grant, will help advance my research goals,” she said.
Currently, the treatments available for female infertility are ARTs, such as medication to promote ovulation, ultrasound monitoring, intrauterine insemination (IUI), reproductive surgery and in vitro fertilization (IVF).
“Although IVF has been used successfully for many years, the rates of success are low and often require women to undergo several treatments before obtaining a successful pregnancy. Because of this, improved therapies are necessary in the field,” she said.
Monsivais is the first Baylor postdoctoral fellow to receive this Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment Award. She also is a member of the Institutional Research and Career Development Award program led by Dr. Gayle Slaughter, senior associate dean for graduate education and diversity. In 2015, she was the first postdoctoral fellow to be named the A.I. and Manet Schepps Scholar in Reproductive Genetics and Drug Discovery at Baylor.
“Grants from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, including this Postdoctoral Enrichment Program award, are very prestigious,” said Dr. Martin Matzuk, postdoctoral mentor for Monsivais and Stuart A. Wallace chair, Robert L. Moody, Sr. chair, professor of pathology and immunology and director of the Center for Drug Discovery at Baylor. “This grant to Dr. Monsivais is fitting recognition of the quality of her research, publications, and teaching since she arrived at Baylor in 2014. I am looking forward to Diana’s continued progress and exciting data.”