$4.5 million NIH grant awarded to Penn to build a molecular model of the female reproductive system

For Immediate Release
October 7, 2020


$4.5 million NIH grant awarded to Penn to build a molecular model of the female reproductive system

Junhyong Kim, PhD, Chair and Patricia M. Williams Professor of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, and Kate O'Neill, MD MTR, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Perelman School of Medicine, have been awarded a Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP) grant supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development and the Common Fund of the National Institutes of Health. Drs. Kim and O'Neill are leading a multi-disciplinary team to create a comprehensive resource for women’s health by documenting the molecular characteristics of individual cells in the female reproductive system. This four-year, $4.5 million grant from the NIH along with support from the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, Perelman School of Medicine and the Center for Research on Reproduction and Women’s Health will fund creation of the Penn Center for Multi-scale Molecular Mapping of the Female Reproductive System.


The female reproductive system is composed of the uterus, fallopian tubes and the ovaries. Together these organs are critical for the establishment of pregnancy, fetal development and parturition and are central to common, costly, and debilitating disorders, including polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, fibroids, and gynecologic cancers. Moreover, in addition to fertility, a functioning reproductive system is interrelated with overall health.


The new center, leveraging Penn’s leadership in Single Cell Biology and Reproductive Biology, is an interdisciplinary effort requiring experts in gynecology, organ transplant, pathology, genomics, informatics, biomedical imaging and radiology. Co-investigators and collaborators involved in this project include from the Perelman School of Medicine Dr. Kurt Barnhart, William Shippen Jr. Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Ronny Drapkin, Franklin Payne Associate Professor of Pathology in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Jim Eberwine, Elmer Holmes Bobst Professor of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, Dr. Michael Feldman, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Dr. James Gee, Associate Professor of Radiologic Science and Computer and Information Science, Dr. Nawar Latif, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Alison Pouch, Assistant Professor of Radiology and Bioengineering, Dr. Lauren Schwartz, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Dr. Abraham Shaked, Eldridge L. Eliason Professor of Surgery, Dr. Brian Gregory, Associate Professor and Graduate Chair of Biology from the School of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Arjun Raj, Professor of Bioengineering from the School of Engineering and Applied Science.


This important endeavor is made possible due to collaboration with the Gift of Life Donation Program and the generosity of donor families and Penn patients to participate in groundbreaking scientific research. 



For detailed information about the HuBMAP Program, please visit:





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