2019 Award Recipients

2019 Carl G. Hartmann Award Recipient

Marilyn Renfree AO, FAA, FAIBiol, FSRB, PhD, D.Sc. D.Sc (Hon.) LLD (Hon.)

Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia

Marilyn is a reproductive and developmental biologist whose research has focused almost entirely on marsupials not only because of their intrinsic interest but also for the opportunities they provide as biomedical models for understanding mammalian reproduction and development (although elephants, women, sheep and mice have also had a look-in in her research career). Her laboratory is known internationally for its study of the reproduction and development of marsupials that have resulted in a number of discoveries that challenged the accepted dogma in several areas including early mammalian development, physiological and molecular control of embryonic diapause, placentation, sexual differentiation, virilisation and genomic imprinting as well as conservation and evolution and even  bringing a gene from the extinct Tasmanian Tiger back to life!

She has also been involved in genome studies of the platypus, koala and led the tammar wallaby genome project. She is an enthusiastic mentor and was awarded the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers. Marilyn graduated from the Australian National University then had a Fulbright Fellowship at University of Tennessee and a Ford Foundation Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh, then academic staff appointments at Murdoch University and Monash University before her appointment as the Ian Potter Chair of Zoology and Head of Department at The University of Melbourne from 1991 -2003. She was awarded an ARC Federation Fellowship 2003-8, was Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Kangaroo Genomics from 2008-10 and was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia on Australia Day January 2013. She was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences in 1997 and served as Vice President and Secretary, Biological Sciences from 2011-2015.She is currently a Laureate Professor of the University of Melbourne.

2019 SSR Virendra B. Mahesh New Investigator Award Recipient 

Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

Assistant Professor, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago Illinois

Dr. Duncan has spent her entire research career focusing on female reproductive health. She graduated from Haverford College with a BS in Biology and Biochemistry and earned her doctorate in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Carmen Williams.  She then did her first post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Richard Schultz before moving to Northwestern University where she worked in Dr. Teresa Woodruff’s laboratory (2009-2014) as a post-doctoral fellow and then an Assistant Research Professor. She then established an independent research program as an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology (2014-2016) before being recruited back to Northwestern in her current position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Executive Director of the Center for Reproductive Science. Research in the Duncan laboratory uses mammalian model systems (mouse, bovine, and human) to test the overarching hypothesis that deterioration of gamete-intrinsic cellular pathways together with changes in the ovarian microenvironment contribute to the reproductive age-associated decline in egg quantity and quality. The laboratory’s work is at the interface of reproductive aging and systemic aging; physiologic and iatrogenic reproductive aging; gamete, follicle, and ovarian biology; and reproductive science and medicine. Insights from this research will help design targeted interventions to ameliorate reproductive aging, laying the foundation to simultaneously improve women’s fertile-span and health-span across generations.

Dr. Duncan has more than 50 manuscripts in peer-reviewed literature and has been featured in the press.  She has received funding at all stages of her career including a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Research Award and an NIH Loan Repayment Award.  Research in her lab is now funded through foundation grants as well as an NIH R01 Award.  In addition to research, Dr. Duncan is passionate about educating the next generation of reproductive science and medicine leaders.  In her own laboratory, Dr. Duncan has mentored high school students, undergraduates, MS students, PhD students, medical students, post-doctoral fellows, and clinical residents. For over a decade, she has been a standing faculty member at the Frontiers in Reproduction course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole where she has interacted with more than 200 international trainees.  She was also instrumental in developing and now running the Master of Science in Reproductive Science and Medicine program at Northwestern University.  Most recently she was the recipient of a United States Fulbright Award to teach reproductive science at the University of Murcia in Spain. 

Dr. Duncan is also passionate about academic publishing, and she serves as an ad hoc reviewer for more than 25 journals and is an editorial board member for Molecular Human Reproduction, Molecular Reproduction and Development, Scientific Reports, and Frontiers in Endocrinology.  Dr. Duncan has valued being a member of the Society for the Study of Reproduction throughout her career and has served the society in various capacities (Publications Committee, Program Committee, and Trainee Affairs Committee Advisor).

2019 SSR Jansen Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Sally Perreault Darney, PhD

Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Health Perspectives, NIEHS

Sally Perreault Darney received her PhD in 1980 from the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health before joining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) in 1984. During her career with the EPA, she accrued extensive experience in environmental research and research management, editorship of scholarly journals, and organizational governance. As a bench scientist she published extensively under the name Sally D. Perreault in reproductive toxicology, environmental epidemiology, and children’s health. She also contributed to EPA test and risk assessment guidelines and served on interagency panels.

 As a program director in the Immediate Office of the Office of Research and Development, Sally helped shape two new EPA National Research Programs: 1) Chemical Safety for Sustainability and 2) Sustainable and Healthy Communities. Serving in these roles also ­expanded the scope of her expertise across disciplines to include principles of exposure science, engineering solutions, computational and predictive toxicology, community-based participatory research, and environmental justice.

Sally transferred from EPA to NIEHS in 2015 to become the Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Health Perspectives, the high impact journal published by NIEHS.  Her previous editorial experience includes four years as Associate Editor for Biology of Reproduction and five years as Coeditor-in-Chief of the Journal of Andrology, along with service on several editorial boards and as peer reviewer for numerous journals in the reproductive and environmental sciences. With respect to organizational governance, Sally is a past president of the Society for the Study of Reproduction and the American Society of Andrology.


2019 SSR Research Award Recipient 

Humphrey Yao, PhD

Principal Investigator, NIEHS/NIH, Reproductive Developmental Biology Lab

Dr. Yao received his doctoral degree at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 1999 under the guidance of Janice Bahr, and then completed his postdoctoral training in Blanche Capel’s lab at Duke University Medical Center in 2002. He became Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Biosciences at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 2003 and received Associate Professor tenure in 2009. Dr. Yao was recruited to National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS/NIH) in 2010 and was promoted to Senior Investigator in 2018. Dr. Yao was the recipient of the Trainee Research Award and New Investigator Award from SSR. He also received Basal O'Connor Starter Research Award from March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation, Pfizer Research Award, and Young Andrologist Award from the American Society of Andrology. He was the associate editor of BOR, a faculty member of the Frontier in Reproduction (FIR), and also elected as the co-Chair for the 2018 Gordon Research Conference on Mammalian Reproduction.


2019 SSR Trainee Mentoring Award Recipient

Barbara Vanderhyden, PhD

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada

Barbara Vanderhyden completed her Ph.D. in Reproductive Physiology at the University of Western Ontario in 1988. She then did postdoctoral studies at The Jackson Laboratory in Maine, where she learned to climb mountains, both literally and scientifically. In 1991, she joined the Cancer Research Group at the University of Ottawa, which has evolved into the Cancer Therapeutics Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, where she is a Senior Scientist. Dr. Vanderhyden is also a Professor at the University of Ottawa and has held the inaugural Corinne Boyer Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research since 2000. She has had the pleasure of mentoring more than 120 trainees, many of whom have inspired new research directions. In her spare time, she established and oversees two science outreach programs, Let’s Talk Science, which makes science fun for students in local schools, and Science Travels, which sends teams of grad students to deliver science workshops in remote First Nations and Inuit communities in the far north.

2019 Fuller W. Bazer SSR International Scientist Award Recipient 

Andreas Meinhardt, PhD

Professor, Justus-Liebig-University, Institute of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Giessen, Germany

Prof. Andreas Meinhardt received his Master’s in Human Biology at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany. His career in reproductive biology started with his PhD at the same university. After his postdoctoral stay at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, he returned to Marburg. He was appointed as professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany in 2001. His research interest includes reproductive immunology with a focus on the understanding of infection and inflammation of the epididymis and testis as a cause of infertility. His lab uses models of acute bacterial and chronic autoimmune testicular and epididymal diseases to better understand pathomechanisms and provide rationales for improved treatment options in men. Andreas holds two Honorary/Adjunct Professorships, one with Monash University and the other with the Hudson Institute of Medical Research (Melbourne). He has served in the councils of the German Society of Andrology (2005-2012), European Academy of Andrology (2002-2010) and is the current President of the International Society of Andrology. Andreas is the German spokesperson of the International Research Training (IRTG) group between Justus-Liebig-University and Monash University on ‘Molecular mechanism of male reproductive disorders’ that aims to train promising PhD students to become the next leaders in andrology. The IRTG has currently trained approx. 20 students with successful candidates who have spent at least one year in the international partner’s lab having obtained a double badged PhD title from both universities.


2019 Janice Bahr Junior Scientist Travel Award Recipient

Annie Newell-Fugate, PhD, DVM

Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University, Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Newell-Fugate graduated from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2004. She practiced clinical small animal medicine from 2004 to 2010 interspersed with the acquisition of her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. She completed her post-doctoral training at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under a National Institute of Health (NIH) K01 grant. Dr. Newell-Fugate joined the Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology Department at Texas A&M University as an Assistant Professor in 2014. Dr. Newell-Fugate is the course coordinator and an instructor of record for VTPP 427-Biomedical Physiology II which is required for undergraduate majors in the Biomedical Sciences. She is the director of the Texas A&M Comparative Endocrinology Laboratory. Her research focuses on the intersection of the effects of diet, sex steroids, and stress on reproductive function and adipocyte lipid metabolism. Dr. Newell-Fugate was the third-place recipient in the 2015 American Veterinary Medicine Association Young Investigator Award competition, received the 2018 TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine Outstanding Young Faculty Research Award, and is a 2018-2019 Montague-Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar.


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Award Recipients

“The Society for the Study of Reproduction, and the SSR Awards Committee, would like to extend our sincere congratulations to this year’s SSR Awardees. These Awardees represent the best of a talented group of scientists that make up our society, and are truly exemplary in their service, mentoring and research. We are proud to call them our colleagues and friends, and pleased that their outstanding work has been recognized. This is truly a deserving group of Awardees.”
- 2018 Awards Chair, Rebecca Krishner

View Past Recipients