Laronda Lab Members
Monica M. Laronda, Ph.D.
Dr. Laronda received her undergraduate degree from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. She earned her PhD in Life Sciences in the laboratory of J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD in Northwestern University’s Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, while studying the role of Sox3 (sex-determining region-Y box gene 3) on spermatogonial differentiation. Her first postdoctoral appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern, provided an outlet to explore how undifferentiated epithelium received cues from adjacent mesenchymal layers, and how this could be disrupted during neonatal exposure to synthetic estrogens. Her second postdoctoral appointment was under the guidance of Teresa K Woodruff, PhD where she investigated the extracellular matrix (ECM) compartments within the ovary, how these affect the growth and viability of isolated granulosa cells and ovarian follicles and how to use natural ECM or biomimetic scaffolds to create an engineered ovary. Under Dr. Woodruff’s mentorship, Dr. Laronda has received several internal grants, including one from the John and Lillian Mathews Regenerative Medicine Endowment Fund to develop induced
pluripotent stem cell differentiation protocols within the NMH Good Manufacturing Practice facility. She has also worked within the Oncofertility Consortium, under the direction of Dr. Woodruff, to develop clinical-grade ovarian tissue preservation kits.
Dr. Laronda was awarded the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface for her work in the Woodruff Lab on developing an engineered ovary using 3D printing. The BWF CASI is a transition award that continues to support her independent lab.
Dr. Laronda was recruited by the Stanley Manne Research Institute and the Ann & Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital to contribute to the Fertility and Hormone Preservation and Restoration Program that bridges basic science, translational research and clinical practice. She started her appointment in the Department of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology on August 2016 as a Warren and Eloise Batts Scholar.
Headshot by Janice B Terry, LCH
Joined: June 2019
Hana is a PhD student in the Driskill Graduate Program at NU Feinberg School of Medicine. She graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Genetics and a minor in Classical Studies. During her undergraduate years, Hana worked in Dr. Andrea Kasinski’s lab studying the role of microRNAs in non-small cell lung cancer. In the Laronda lab, she is working to generate ovarian follicle support cells from stem cells, as well as better characterize support cells in various culture conditions.
Headshot by Janice B Terry, LCH
Joined: September 2020
Elizabeth is a PhD student in the Driskill Graduate Program at NU Feinberg School of Medicine as well as a student in Northwestern’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). She is a graduate of Duke University, with a major in Biology and a minor in both Chemistry and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Under the mentorship of Dr. Kris Wood at Duke, she studied the role of c-Myc as the convergence point of multiple chemotherapeutic resistance mechanisms in B-Raf mutant melanoma. In the Laronda lab, she focuses on understanding differences between prepubertal and postpubertal ovaries as well as the contribution of the stromal microenvironment to folliculogenesis.
Hannah B. McDowell, M.S.
Joined: July 2022
Hannah graduated from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign double majoring in Molecular/Cellular Biology and Chemistry. During her undergraduate years, she worked in Dr. Erik R. Nelson's lab, studying the effects of cholesterol on exosome driven breast cancer metastasis. She then obtained a Master's in Biotechnology from Northwestern University. In the Laronda Lab, Hannah is determining the role of chemotherapy-induced neo-angiogenesis in primordial follicle activation upon ovarian tissue transplantation.
Olivia is a student in Northwestern's Masters of Reproductive Science and Medicine program. She is a graduate of Manhattan College, where she majored in biology and minored in chemistry. As an undergraduate, Olivia worked in Dr. Lance Evan's lab, studying the barking patterns of saguaro cacti. In the Laronda lab, she is working on generating a continuous tubule structure capable of supporting spermatogenesis using testicular organoids.
Joined: June 2022
Samantha McLean is a first-year medical student at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. She recently graduated from Michigan State University in 2020 where she studied exercise physiology and health promotion. Samantha's research interests include fertility preservation and the cryopreservation of ovarian tissue in pediatric patients.