Mission & Goals
The mission of CRB is to provide opportunities for investigators from across the Pacific Northwest to collaborate, learn from one another, and advance our understanding of reproductive and developmental processes.
Center of Excellence Goals
- Increase national and international recognition of the Center through research accomplishments and activities.
- Enhance and increase the interactions and collaborations among members in the fields of reproductive biology, developmental biology and associated diseases, within WSU and at other universities in the Northwest (e.g. UI, UW, OSU, and OHSU).
- Assist in recruitment of high-visibility senior scientists and junior scientists with outstanding promise that work in these areas.
- Develop a community outreach program to increase interest in the STEM sciences, in particular, reproductive biology, developmental biology, and disease.
- Promote scientific publications that are co-authored by multiple members of the Center.
- Develop multi-investigator and interdepartmental program project research programs and grants.
- Encourage corporate-sponsored research in an effort to move research findings toward practical use in everyday life.
- Provide a rich research training environment for the next generation of reproductive and developmental biologists who will learn to apply a basic understanding of physiology to disease states.
- Obtain training grants associated with multi-investigator research programs developed for both graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.
- To enhance learning opportunities through a rigorous graduate curriculum focused on reproductive and developmental processes, as well as pathophysiology.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the greatest hurdle to academic research since the center was founded. The CRB’s service, training, and research arms were all greatly impacted. Despite the limitations, through their perseverance the center’s members have met or exceeded their goals furthering the center’s mission. This report highlights the exceptional accomplishments of our faculty, technicians, and trainees. The immediate impact to WSU can be realized in extramural research awards totaling $16 million (with an additional $2M from University of Idaho faculty) in awards, the majority of which bring indirect costs. This level of support for research is uncommon among reproductive biology centers and tops the totals from peers at other universities. The prestige of the CRB was elevated in January when two SMB faculty and core CRB members, Michael D. Griswold and Patricia A. Hunt, and one former WSU researcher and CRB member, Thomas E. Spencer, were among the 15 faculty recipients of the inaugural Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) Distinguished Fellows. These Fellows were recognized for their sustained and outstanding contributions the field of reproductive biology. SSR is the world’s leading association for supporting scientific discovery and interdisciplinary research in reproduction, fertility, and development for the benefit of animals and humans. Former CRB Director, Jon M. Oatley, was a significant contributor to the prestige of the CRB and WSU as recipient of the title Honorary Diplomat of the American College of Theriogenology. This recognition attests to the significant impact of Dr. Oatley’s research on the national and international stage as this title has traditionally been reserved only for DVM. As further support of Dr. Oatley’s stature as a leading-edge investigator in the development, fostering, and implementation of novel reproductive technologies, he was invited as one of six experts to provide testimony for a US Congressional Panel on 21st Century Biotechnology in Agriculture. These hearings were live streamed worldwide on an open access platform. Following Dr. Oatley’s prepared statements on his vision for the future of reproductive biotechnology, he had many follow-up questions from panel members where he was able to educate the public and policy makers on the research initiatives and collaborations of CRB members that are positioned to drive the field going forward. With the College of Veterinary Medicine, three CRB members received significant accolades increasing the awareness of the impact of the center to WSU and beyond. Ryan Driskell received the Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award and the award for the largest New Individual Grant. Miranda Bernhardt, director of the Animal Production Core, and Lisette Maddison, director of the Gene Editing Reagent Core, both under the CRB umbrella, received the Most Outstanding Staff Team Award. This year, the APC and GERC had unprecedented success in generating knockout and transgenic animal models for multiple investigators. The strength of these in-house developed models and genomic tools will bolster external funding applications in the coming months. Towards the Center’s main objective, to provide opportunities for investigators from across the Pacific Northwest to collaborate and learn from one another, the center hosted the first in-person symposium that most members have been able to attend in 1.5 years due to cancelations of most society-driven conferences. This symposium introduced new CRB faculty to members from other member schools and colleges within WSU and highlighted the accomplishments of trainee-driven research. For many students, this was their first opportunity to present their work publicly in front of a live audience. See full 2021 report.