Olivet alumna Dr. Teresa Woodruff recognized as inventor

Oncofertility and its clinical practice management strategies are two of Dr. Woodruff’s inventions.

During a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 5, 2018, Dr. Teresa Woodruff ’85 became a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). She is an alumna of the Department of Biological Sciences at Olivet Nazarene University. 

This high professional distinction honors those academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. 

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Dr. Woodruff coined the term “oncofertility” and invented clinical practice management strategies that merged two fields: oncology and fertility. Oncofertility is now a recognized field of medicine and provides reproductive options for young cancer patients around the globe. She has 11 issued patents related to her reproductive research, including for a novel method to connect reproductive tissues in a microfluidic device and a method to increase the fertilization potential of cells in the ovary. She has edited six books on the subject, covering every aspect of this new field of study — including religious viewpoints and ethical questions about these emerging technologies. 

“I’m honored to be elected to the NAI, which recognizes innovation and entrepreneurship,” Dr. Woodruff says. “As I accept the medal of the NAI, I do so in recognition of the many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have contributed to the work and are the next generation of leaders.” 

Her professional passion and career focus are to help restore fertility in women who have undergone life-preserving cancer treatments that left them unable to conceive. An expert on ovarian biology and reproductive science, she is an internationally recognized leader in fertility research. Recently, CNN.com featured her in the article “3-D printed ovary allows infertile mouse to mate and give birth.” 

In 2013, TIME named Dr. Woodruff to its list of Most Influential Persons. In 2017, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Her project, “Global Germ Cell Metallome,” will generate an unprecedented view of germ cells from ocean corals to humans across the globe. 

Dr. Woodruff is serving at Northwestern University as the Thomas J. Watkins Memorial Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Feinberg School of Medicine, professor of biomedical engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering, and dean of The Graduate School. She founded and directs the Women’s Health Research Institute and is director of the Center for Reproductive Science. 

To learn more about Olivet’s Department of Biological Sciences and areas of study, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.

 

Published: 4/16/2018