New women's health researcher brings $6.8 million in funding to MSU

April 28, 2010

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- West Michigan and Michigan State University have become the new home for a $6.8 million Center for Women's Health and Reproduction Research, thanks to the collaborative efforts of MSU, Spectrum Health and the Van Andel Institute.

Leading infertility researcher and new recruit Asgi T. Fazleabas has been director of a Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproduction and Infertility Research at the University of Illinois, now in its eighth year of funding. Supported by a $6.8 million award by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the center and its funding moved this month to MSU, where Fazleabas is now a professor and an associate chairperson in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.

MSU's new Center for Women's Health and Reproduction Research is one of 15 nationwide and is housed in the Van Andel Institute, also home of the college's $6.8 million Udall Center for Parkinson's Disease Research.

"Dr. Fazleabas brings an extensive international research portfolio in the area of women's reproductive health to the region," said Marsha D. Rappley, dean of MSU's College of Human Medicine. "The collective recruitment efforts of the Spectrum Health-Michigan State University Alliance along with the Van Andel Institute have once again resulted in an internationally renowned center of excellence in Grand Rapids."

Fazleabas, funded by the National Institutes of Health continuously since 1986, is a leading authority in the fields of uterine biology, fertility and endometriosis, a debilitating gynecological medical condition that affects one in 10 women with health care costs of $22 billion a year.

His recruitment was made possible by the MSU-Spectrum alliance, a formal agreement between the two institutions to collaborate on medical school faculty recruitment, research initiatives and facility development.

"Spectrum Health looks forward to the expertise and depth of knowledge that Dr. Fazleabas brings to the women's health area," said Matt Van Vranken, executive vice president of Spectrum Health and president of the Spectrum Health Hospital Group. "A researcher and professor of his caliber is an asset to MSU College of Human Medicine as well as to Spectrum Health and the patients we serve.

"The combination of clinical care, research and academics being established here are significant for our physicians and patients of today and tomorrow."

Fazleabas will continue to serve as the director of the specialized cooperative centers program. Richard Leach, professor and chairperson of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology in the College of Human Medicine, also is a principal investigator on the project. Other investigators include Serdar Bulun of Northwestern University and Romana Nowak at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.

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