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Scholar Achievements

Scientific Duo Gets Back to Basics to Make Childbirth Safer

Former AAOGF/SMFM scholar Joy-Sarah Y. Vink, MD was recently featured an article published by NPR about her research.

Click here to read the article.

Vink's lab focuses on understanding how the cervix manages to stay closed in pregnancy and then dramatically remodel to become a soft, compliant structure that is able to dilate and allow for delivery of a fetus.

In addition, her goal is also to understand how this normal process of cervical remodeling goes awry leading to pathologic conditions such as premature cervical failure and spontaneous preterm birth. Currently about one in 10 pregnancies ends prematurely placing these babies at significant risk for complications related to prematurity.

Vink's goal is to understand how and why the cervix fails prematurely and develop novel therapeutic interventions that will be more effective in keeping the cervix closed to avoid premature births.

"My current success would not be possible without the support and funding from the AAOGF," she says. "The trajectory of my career in research began with the AAOGF/SMFM Scholarship and I would not be where I am today without the mentorship and support that the AAOGF provided."

Burd Receives NIH Funding

Irina Burd, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics and Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University. She was recruited to the Johns Hopkins University to spearhead the development of the field of Fetal Medicine and Fetal Neurology, and is the founder and Director of the Johns Hopkins Integrated Research Center for Fetal Medicine as well as the Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellowship. Prior to coming to the Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Burd earned Bachelor of Arts Degree from Rutgers University (Summa Cum Laude) and completed MD/PhD program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Thomas Jefferson University and her fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

During the last year of her MFM fellowship, with the help of ABOG/AAOGF three-year grant (2009-2012), Dr. Burd developed research program studying mechanisms of perinatal brain injury with exposure to intrauterine inflammation. These data allowed Dr. Burd to be successful in her NICHD KO8 application (2012-2017), while at the Johns Hopkins University and under mentorship of a pediatric neurologist. Dr. Burd’s findings on the role of IL1beta in pathogenesis of fetal brain injury with exposure to intrauterine inflammation and infection became very important at the time of Zika infection surge. Receipt of ABOG/AAOGF Bridge grant (2017-2018) allowed her to generate enough preliminary data in her novel Zika model of perinatal brain injury. In 2018, Dr. Burd became a proud recipient of NICHD R01 “IL1beta regulation of perinatal outcomes in Zika infection.”

Dr. Burd has authored more than 100 original papers and scholarly publications, is a member of multiple editorial boards, serves as an Associate Editor for American Journal of Reproductive Immunology and for PloS One as well as an Editor-in-Chief for Obstetrics for a Biomed Central Journal, Maternal Health, Neonatology and Perinatology. Dr. Burd also serves as a Chair of the National Institutes of Health Obstetrics and Maternal Fetal Biology Subcommittee.

AAOGF Scholar Receives K08 Funding

Jose Alejandro Rauh-Hain is a gynecologic oncologist and a health services researcher at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). He has extensive experience in analyzing large datasets to evaluate cancer outcomes, including prior work with the linked SEER-Medicare data, SEER, the National Cancer Database, as well as additional experience working with claims data. He has performed comparative effectiveness studies on the surgical management of women with gynecological cancers. In particular, he has authored several publications that have helped to define the role of minimally invasive surgery in gynecologic oncology.

These studies demonstrated the oncologic safety of minimally invasive surgery for early stage endometrial cancer, and confirmed that these procedures are safe for staging and interval cytoreductive surgery in women with epithelial ovarian cancer. The latter finding represents the first large study of minimally invasive surgery in advanced ovarian cancer. Contrary to these findings, in a separate paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, he found that minimally invasive surgery is associated with an elevated risk of death relative to laparotomy in women undergoing radical hysterectomy for early-stage cervical cancer.

He has also a particular interest in examining disparities in gynecological cancer care and studies to improve care of young women with cancer. Specifically, he is interested in descriptive and intervention research studies conducted in real-world clinical settings that have the potential to reveal the effectiveness of strategies for decreasing well-documented disparities in gynecological cancer care access, utilization, and associated clinical outcomes. 

Eludication of Integrated HPV DNA Structure in a Cervical Carcinoma Cell Line by Combined High Resolution and Long Range Sequencing Analyses

Click on the image below to see the work by AAOGF scholar Anne Van Arsdale, MD, MSc.


2018 Bridge Grant Recipients

Jesus Gonzalez Bosquet, MD, Ph.D.

Shannon Michelle Hawkins, MD

Emily Miller, MD MPH

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2018 Travel Award Recipients

Mae Wu Healy, DO, FACOG, LCDR, MC, USN
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Donald Swartz Award

David Bryan Nelson, MD
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Walter T. Dannreuther Award

Beri Melissa Ridgeway, MD
Cleveland clinic
Henry L. Darner Award

Katina Robison, MD
Women and Infants Hospital Rhode Island
AGOS President's Award

Malgorzata E. Skaznik-Wikiel, MD
University of Colorado Denver
James W. Kennedy Award

Amanda Cofer Yunker, DO, MSCR, FACOG
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
J Bay Jacobs Award

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