Inhibin was a reproductive hormone about which very little was known in 1990. I was involved in the development of the first specific immunoassays for inhibin and performed studies that helped to define its normal physiology in men and women. This work subsequently led me to study inhibin and related proteins, such as activin, in infertility, cancer and pregnancy. In that regard, I had an instrumental role in the development of two clinical applications of the inhibin immunoassay; prenatal screening for Down syndrome and assessment of ovarian reserve. These tests are now widely used throughout the world.
I have ongoing research projects on inhibin and activin in preeclampsia, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, oocyte maturation and fetal development in collaboration with investigators in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pathology at Women & Infants Hospital and elsewhere. I have been funded by the NIH to examine the role of activin in human fetal palate development, a project that resulted from the fusion of my interest and experience in the inhibin family with my later training in prenatal testing. Most recently I have obtained funding to explore the interaction of inhibin B and premenstrual symptoms.
In addition to my basic research interests, I have served as the manager for the laboratory portion of largest multicenter NIH obstetrical grant. The objective of the FASTER trial was to compare first and second trimester prenatal screening in 38,000 women across the country with all serum measurements performed in our laboratory. I was responsible for hiring and training staff and daily supervision of data and patient reports. The results of this trial were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and will influence national prenatal screening practices. I am currently a co-investigator on a supplemental project to look at the association of thyroid hormone levels and obstetrical outcomes in these patients.