Research Programs

The Reproductive Endocrine Unit of the Department of Medicine was established in 1983 to provide a venue for the investigational, teaching and clinical activities of this expanding section of the Endocrine Division. Building on the MGH’s long-standing record of outstanding reproductive research dating back to the time of Fuller Albright, and expanded by Dr. William Crowley, the unit is currently led by Unit Chief, Dr. Stephanie Seminara.

Harvard Reproductive Endocrine Sciences Center National Center for Translational Research in Reproduction and Infertility

Areas of Research


REU Areas of Research

Novel Gene Discovery in Reproduction

Join our journey in the discovery of novel genes that regulate reproductive function and contribute to infertility.


Neuropeptides in Reproduction (Kisspeptin & Neurokinin B)

Dr. Seminara leads a translational research program that studies hypothalamic neuropeptides (kisspeptin and neurokinin B) that regulate the timing of sexual maturation and maintenance of normal reproductive function across mammalian species (mice, monkeys, and man).


Reproductive Failure and Neurodegeneration

Dr. Seminara’s research focuses on how neurodegeneration (secondary to disordered ubiquitination) can lead to hypogonadism and infertility through detailed studies in genetically engineered mice and patients with rare neurodegenerative disorders.

REU Areas of Research

Axonal Guidance Molecules in Reproduction

Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons serve as the pilot light for reproduction in all mammals. GnRH neurons originate from the nasal placode and migrate into the hypothalamus during embryonic development. Disruption of the origin or their migratory journey results in Kallmann Syndrome, a rare Mendelian disorder characterized by hypogonadotropic hypogonadism secondary to GnRH deficiency and anosmia (loss of sense of smell).


Female Reproductive Physiology

Drs. Hall and Welt each study the physiology and pathophysiology underlying normal female reproduction. Most recently, Dr. Hall’s work has emphasized ovulatory disorders and reproductive aging; Dr. Welt has focused on the genetics of polycystic ovary syndrome and premature ovarian insufficiency. Although both of these faculty members are leading programs at other institutions, they maintain active collaborations with the REU.


Research Investigators

Research Faculty
Ravikumar Balasubramanian, MBBS, MRCP, PhD
Yee-Ming Chan, MD, PhD
Margaret Lippincott, MD
Stephanie Seminara, MD

Research Collaborators
Janet Hall, MD
Corrine Welt, MD

Research Fellows
Danna Chen, PhD
Wanlu Ma, MD
Phuong Nguyen, PhD
Mei Wang, MA
Michelle (Wanxue) Xu, MD
Jing Zhuang, MD, PhD

Research Staff
Margaret Chen (Program Manager)
Vanessa Ferreira Lopes (Clinical Research Coordinator)
Katerina Hoskova (Clinical Research Coordinator)
Isabella McDonald (Clinical Research Coordinator)
Lacey Plummer (Lab Manager)
Rebecca Rojas (Lab Technician)
Kathryn Salnikov (Program Manager)

Research Resources

The Reproductive Endocrine Unit (REU) in the Department of Medicine provides a resource rich training environment. In addition to the institutional resources of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Partners, our affiliations with Harvard Medical School, and the Broad Institute, trainees benefit from the close physical proximity of clinical and basic science researchers, all of whom are focused on the field of Reproductive Endocrinology.

Access to our unit’s facilities, resources and seminars helps to make the sharing of ideas seamless.

The Reproductive Endocrine Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital is located at two sites on the MGH Main Campus. The Bartlett Hall Extension fifth floor (BHX-5) site is 4,507 square feet of space including the Leadership, Faculty and Fellow office space, Core laboratory, conference room, research support carrels, and administrative office space. The Wang Building seventh floor site includes the Reproductive Endocrine Associates Clinic.



Facilities / Resources

REU Research Clinic – The research clinic located on the 4th floor of the Bartlett Hall Extension is conveniently located next to the Genotyping Core. Clinical research studies are performed here and in the Translational and Clinical Research Center.

Harvard Center for Reproductive Endocrine Sciences Core Laboratory – The Core Laboratory can be used by all Investigators on the unit.

Progeny Database and Phenotyping/Genotyping Website – All genetic and phenotypic data, sample data and demographic data of our genetics study are stored in a comprehensive password-protected Progeny database.

Tech Integrated Conference Room – Video and Teleconference enabled

Institutional Resources

MGH Division of Clinical Research (DCR) – offers courses in clinical research, free individual consultations on study design, biostatistics, translational medicine, and genetics and genomics.

MGH Translational and Clinical Research Center (TCRC) – REU investigators conduct several clinical research protocols at the MGH TCRC and benefit from the personnel support including research nurses, nurse practitioners, and research nutritionists. Investigators also use the inpatient and outpatient facilities, DXA scan facility for assessment of bone density and body composition, and exercise testing facilities.

MGH Center for Genomic Medicine (CGM) – The REU is supported by Dr. James Gusella PhD, Faculty Member at the CGM, who serves as our Genetic Consultant. In addition, REU investigators benefit from the CGM Core laboratory and have in place several strategic collaborations with other CGM scientists.

MGH Center for Comparative Medicine (CCM) provides reliable, affordable, and responsive laboratory animal care and research services to REU investigators.


Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSA/Harvard Catalyst) – is dedicated to providing tools, training, technologies, and collaborative interfaces to clinical and translational investigators. The Harvard Catalyst Introduction to Clinical Investigation is a five-day course designed to give fellows and junior faculty a solid foundation in the principles and methods of clinical investigation. Upon completing this course, participants will be able to take advantage of additional, specialized training, mentoring, and consultation opportunities for clinical investigation available through Harvard Catalyst.

Broad InstituteDr. Crowley is an Associate Member of the Broad Institute and this unique association provides REU investigators with access to the Broad Genomics and Bioinformatics pipelines, Cores, and eligibility for internal seed funding. REU investigators are also active participants in the Medical Population and Genetics (MPG) meetings every Thursday morning. In addition, the REU staff attend the Broad Institute’s MPG Primer series every year. This primer is a series of informal weekly discussions hosted by the Broad Institute, covering such topics as human genetic variation, genotyping, DNA sequencing methods, statistics, and data analysis.


Interested in Participating in Research?

The Reproductive Endocrine Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital has a long history of research focusing on understanding the mechanisms of normal reproduction and how these processes, when defective, produce clinical disorders in men, women and children. Several outpatient and inpatient studies are currently underway in normal men and women and in patients with disorders of the reproductive system. All studies have been carefully reviewed and approved by the Partners Institutional Review Board. Click below to see all Reproductive Endocrine studies currently recruiting study participants, along with basic qualifications for participating.