On Wednesday, April 20, the Center for Research on Women and Gender and the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health hosted our 3rd Annual UIC Women’s Health Research Day to promote networking among faculty and students conducting women’s health research and sex/gender-based science, and to disseminate recent findings within these areas. This year’s theme, “Every Cell has a Sex,” aligned with the National Institutes of Health’s priority to examine sex differences in all types of health research, particularly basic science. The event attracted over 100 faculty, students, and researchers from across campus and beyond, and 38 students, fellows, faculty, and staff presented posters.
As part of our theme, the event highlighted three “data blitz” presentations: Dr. Joanna Burdette from the College of Pharmacy discussed her lab’s work in examining the origins of ovarian cancer, Dr. Kirstie Danielson from the College of Medicine spoke about the bidirectional association between diabetes and bone and sex-based differences in islet transplantation, and abstract winner, Elisa Hilderbrand, doctoral candidate in the Department of Neuroscience, presented on her work examining the role of estrogen receptors as a modulator of ethanol reward in female mice.
The event featured keynote speaker, Dr. Teresa Woodruff, PhD, Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Vice Chair of Research (OB/GYN), Chief of the Division of Reproductive Science in Medicine, and Professor of Molecular Biosciences at Northwestern University. Dr. Woodruff is internationally recognized for her work in ovarian biology and coined the term “oncofertility” to describe the merging of two fields: oncology and fertility. Her engaging presentation focused on the importance of examining and reporting sex differences in all types of health research, whether the research takes place in the laboratory, clinic, or community.
In addition to our speakers, several attendees showcased their research and the importance of women’s health and sex/gender-based health research through our poster competition. Dr. Joan Briller from the College of Medicine and Dr. Angela Russo from the College of Pharmacy received top awards for best poster in the faculty, fellows and staff category. Karina Romo, an undergraduate student from Liberal Arts and Sciences won top prize in the student poster competition, and Subbulakshmi Karthikeyan, graduate student in the College of Pharmacy, received the second place award. Additionally, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) sponsored a Multidisciplinary Team Science Prize, awarded to Dr. Susan Magasi from the College of Applied Health Sciences.
The event would not have been successful without the contributions of our many co-sponsors: UIC College of Medicine, UIC College of Pharmacy, UIC School of Public Health, UIC Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and UIC Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) program.