It started with an idea and is now one of the largest reproductive biology centers in the nation.
Faculty at Washington State University and the University of Idaho who shared an interest in reproductive biology began meeting regularly in 1989. Their purpose was to discuss specific research projects and to promote interactions/collaborations.
Utilizing existing graduate programs, those faculty created a training program to assist each university in the recruitment of graduate and postdoctoral trainees interested in reproductive biology. As more faculty joined the informal group the interest of various colleges was peaked. In 1996 an organized unit was formed and Dr. Michael K. Skinner was recruited to WSU from the University of California. Dr. Skinner was tasked with organizing, establishing and directing the Center. Under his leadership, the Center obtained a line-item budget (1999), assisted in organizing 14 Core Laboratories, funded the recruitment of many excellent faculty to WSU and the Center became recognized as one of the largest university based Reproductive Biology centers in the United States. After twelve years of service to the Center, Dr. Skinner stepped down as Director to more fully concentrate on his research.
In 2008, Dr. Terry Hassold was recruited from the School of Molecular Biosciences and took the helm as Director. His first tasks were to oversee a move to new facilities and a move from the College of Sciences to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Under his tutelage, the Center streamlined its Cores, aligned the seminar program with our graduate teaching course AS 582/Biol 582 (UI), increased membership, and moved the Center’s overall outlook toward a focus on trainees. The large membership included faculty from Washington State University, University of Idaho, University of Washington, and Montana State University. Dr. Hassold returned to his research in October 2013 and passed the directorship to Dr. Jon Oatley.
Dr. Oatley was recruited from the School of Molecular Biosciences. Immediately upon assuming the role of Director, he continued the vision of Dr. Hassold by further streamlining membership and realigning Core Laboratories to better match university and faculty needs. As of July 2015, Dr. Oatley has instituted a symposium program headed by CRB trainees, instituted Core changes, increased collaboration with other universities to support the Northwest Reproductive Sciences Symposium and updated membership requirements. Dr. Oatley’s streamlined vision of the Center and its Cores is designed to foster interest in reproductive sciences, provide preeminent services to the university community and further promote collaboration between faculty in the Pacific Northwest.
The Center has 88 independent faculty as members including several working within the industry of reproductive biology. Within the laboratories of these faculty members are over 200 students, postdoctoral fellows and technical staff.
The faculty of the Center currently have approximately 15 million in extramural support. Several large multi-investigator programs have been developed and seen through to fruition.