Alexa Karczmar, BA
Program Assistant

Alexa Karczmar is the Program Assistant to the Women's Health Research Institute and to Dr. Teresa Woodruff. Alexa supports several WHRI projects, including the maintentance of the Repropedia, the development and presentation of educational materials through our STEM programming for high school students, and the writing and dissemination of our blog and newsletter.

Prior to joining the WHRI, Alexa worked as a Project Manager with Chapin Hall Center for Children, coordinating their youth homelessness work as part of the Voices of Youth Count initiative. She has also worked as a sexual health educator for several years, both at the University of Chicago and as a volunteer with Chicago Youth Programs. Alexa earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Chicago.

Megan Connolly, B.A.
Research Coordinator

Megan Connolly is the research coordinator for the Women's Health Research Institute and serves as a liaison between its clinical partners.  She supports the research efforts of the Institute by facilitating study recruitment and enrollment and works closely with the institutional review board to ensure compliance on the local, state, and federal levels. 

Megan earned her B.A. degree from Argosy University in Business Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Management. As a two-time cancer survivor,  she is a strong advocate for transformative and innovative clinical research. 

Nicole C. Woitowich, PhD
Associate Director

Nicole obtained her PhD in Biochemisty and Molecule Biology from Rosalind Franklin University with a focus on Reproductive Physiology. She utilizes traditional and non-traditional science communication methods to educate and engage the Northwestern community on the importance of sex and gender inclusion in the biomedical and clinical fields. Her work varies from developing tools to help researchers incorporate sex as a biological variable in their research, to meeting with community members to discuss differences in their health and well-being based on their sex.  Additionally, she oversees programming which promotes the advancement and retention of women in science in medicine no matter what stage in their career – from high school students to the tenured professor. 

Teresa K Woodruff, PhD
Founder, Director

Teresa K. Woodruff Ph.D. is the Dean and Associate Provost for Graduate Education in The Graduate School at Northwestern University. She is also the Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the Vice Chair for Research and the Chief of the Division of Reproductive Science in Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine. She is Professor of Molecular Biosciences in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering. She is the Director of the Center for Reproductive Science (CRS), Founder and Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI), and Director of the Oncofertility Consortium. She is an internationally recognized expert in ovarian biology and, in 2006, coined the term “oncofertility” to describe the merging of two fields: oncology and fertility. She now heads the Oncofertility Consortium, an interdisciplinary team of biomedical and social scientist experts from across the country. She has been active in education not only at the professional level but also with high school students. To this end, she founded and directs the Oncofertility Saturday Academy (OSA), one of several high school outreach programs that engages girls in basic and medical sciences.  She was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring in an oval office ceremony by President Obama (2011). Widely recognized for her work, Woodruff holds 10 U.S. Patents, and in 2013 she was named to Time magazine’s ‘Most Influential Persons’ list. Some of her recent awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship (2017), the Society for Endocrinology Transatlantic Medal (2017), and a Leadership Award from the Endocrine Society (2017).  She has two honorary degrees including one from the University of Birmingham, College of Medical, UK (2016). She is an elected fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She is past-president of the Endocrine Society and championed the new NIH policy that mandates the use of females in fundamental research.  She is civically active and is an elected member of The Economic Club of Chicago and on the school board of the Chicago-based Young Women’s Leadership Charter School.