The goal of the RDGF Training Program is to attract and recruit the most qualified graduate students (PhD or MD/PhD) and postdoctoral fellows (MD or PhD) to pursue training and careers in the reproductive sciences. Successful applicants will join a diverse community of trainees in the unique environment at Magee-Womens Research Institute where graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, medical residents, medical fellows and junior faculty (119 total trainees) work side by side in state of the art research facilities and experience daily how fundamental research discoveries impact reproductive medicine and patient care.

The goals of the Program are to pair trainees with productive mentors who are committed to the training mission of the program and the University of Pittsburgh/Magee. The program will provide trainees with the education, resources and technical experience to conduct impactful science, while adhering to the principles of responsible conduct of research and scientific integrity. Rigorous oversight and progress review of Trainee/Mentor teams will ensure that trainees are fully immersed in all aspects of academic career development, including career development coursework, publications, grant submissions and attendance/presentation at local and national/international meetings. The overall objective is to ensure that our trainees have the knowledge, skills, productivity and academic connections to facilitate advancement to the next stage in their careers.

Graduate Student Applicants
• Must be US citizen or green card holder
• Must be accepted into a qualified University of Pittsburgh PhD graduate program
• Must identify a mentor on the RDGF T32 faculty list who is willing & able to take a new trainee in their lab
• Mentor must have a minimum 2-year funding horizon and/or
• Have an eligible research plan in reproductive sciences

Postdoctoral Applicants
• Must be US citizen or green card holder
• Must identify a mentor on the RDGF T32 faculty list who is willing & able to take a new trainee in their lab
• Mentor must have a minimum 2-year funding horizon and/or
• Have an eligible research plan in reproductive sciences

If you have questions about the eligibility requirements or need clarification, please contact the program director (Kyle Orwig: korwig@mwri.magee.edu) or the program administrator (Jen Orwig: jshuttleworth@mwri.magee.edu).


Training Faculty

Stephen Badylak Tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, biologic scaffolds and extracellular matrix
Yaacov Barak Placental development and metabolism and the life cycle of adipocytes- differentiation, death and regeneration
Carlton Bates Molecular mechanisms driving kidney and lower urinary tract development
Ronald Buckanovich Ovarian biology, ovarian cancer, cancer stem cells
Anne Carlson Fertilization, capacitation, ion channel gating
Carl Hubel Maternal and placental physiology, vascular biology, preeclampsia, developmental origins of disease
Erin Kershaw Impact of intracellular lipid metabolism on ovarian function, reproductive outcomes and fetal development
Cecilia Lo Developmental mechanisms and genetic etiology of structural birth defects
Mellissa Mann Molecular regulation of genomic imprinting in early embryos
Pam Moalli Prolapse meshes, regenerative techniques to rebuild vaginal support tissues
Kyle Orwig Stem cells, germline development, fertility and infertility
Aleksandar Rajkovic Mechanisms behind ovarian development and failure
Lisa Rohan Cervix/Vagina biology, mucosal drug delivery
Yoel Sadovsky Feto-placental development and trophoblast function
William Walker Hormonal regulation of the testis, testosterone mechanism of action, signal transduction
Judy Yanowitz Mechanisms behind chromosome missegregation and germline aneuploidy
Alexander Yatsenko Genetic basis of human male reproduction defects



Trainee/Mentor teams must submit an application and associated supporting documents (see below) to the RDGF T32 training program administrator, Jennifer Orwig (jshuttleworth@mwri.magee.edu) for review by the executive committee.

  • Completed application form
  • Cover letter from the trainee applicant that includes a statement of your research interests, short-term goals for fellowship, long-term career goals, and time frame for training
  • Curriculum vitae from the trainee applicant
  • NIH Biosketch from the proposed mentor
  • A short, NIH-formatted style application of up to two pages (Arial 11 pt font, ½ inch margins) that includes the following sections: abstract (250 word limit), significance, innovation and approach, and references (limit of 10, must be included within the two page limit)
  • Letter of recommendation from the proposed mentor, which includes a brief summary of the proposed research project and its fit within the mentor’s ongoing research program, a proposed funding plan in case the fellowship is not granted. The letter should be emailed directly to Jennifer Orwig (jshuttleworth@mwri.magee.edu)
  • Two letters of recommendation (in addition to the mentor letter), addressed to the Executive Committee of the T32 training program in Reproductive Development from Gonads to Fetuses, should be emailed directly from the referee to Jennifer Orwig (jshuttleworth@mwri.magee.edu).
  • Letter from department chair or institute director indicating commitment to space and resources for the mentor and support of the trainee through the completion of their training. The letter should be emailed directly to Jennifer Orwig (jshuttleworth@mwri.magee.edu)


Current Trainees

Amanda Zielen, PhD
Postdoctoral Trainee (2017 – )
Project: Genetic variants in mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM) gene 8 and overall health

Tiffany Bernardo, BS
Predoctoral Trainee (2017 – )
Project: Lactate metabolism in placental development and injury

Sarah Munyoki, BS
Predoctoral Trainee (2017 – )
Project: High-resolution transcriptome analysis of the Primate testis by Single-Cell RNA-Sequencing

Adetunji Fayomi, PhD
Postdoctoral Trainee (2018 – )
Project: The Role of EGFL6 in Female Reproductive System Development and Disease