CHICAGO, June 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Friends of Prentice (FOP), a non-profit organization that works in partnership with Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital to fund innovative and leading-edge research benefitting the lives of women, announced today they will be funding six critical research projects impacting the lives of women across the country. The exceptional physicians were selected as grant recipients of FOP’s annual grant cycle based on their commitment to improving healthcare for women here in Chicago and across the globe.

The Friends of Prentice grant recipients are varied both in their fields of studies and their reach into the different groups of women they serve. Each were selected from an impressively talented applicant pool for their demonstrated alignment and focus areas that ladder up to the mission of the organization – to improve the health of women across the entire arc of their lives.

This year's annual FOP grant recipients include:

  • Jeffrey A. Goldstein, MD, PhD & Emily S. Miller, MD, MPH & Leena B. Mithal, MD, MSCI & Elisheva D. Shanes, MD for their Clinical Research of the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women, fetuses and infants.  The study will look at whether COVID-19 crosses the placenta and, if so, what the impact is to the fetus. 
  • Elnur Babayev, MD, MSc, Clinical Fellow & Co-PI: Monica M. Laronda, PhD for their translational research on adolescents undergoing egg cryopreservation following cancer treatments and for patients undergoing a female to male transition to preserve reproductive health. Their study will examine whether the treatment historically used for adults has the same reproductive capacity for adolescents.
  • Christina E. Boots, MD, MSCI & Margrit Urbanek, PhD for their translational research of studying human ovarian biology in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) compared to healthy human ovaries thus informing treatment for PCOS – one of the most common forms of infertility among reproductive age women.  
  • Michelle Kominiarek, MD, MS for her public health and community service program to establish a Centering Pregnancy Group Prenatal Care Model in Northwestern’s Resident OBGYN Clinic. The grant money will be used to establish this program that takes individual women out of the exam room and into small group settings with 8 to 12 other women who share similar due dates.  Together, these small groups of women will learn about prenatal care and maternal coping skills with the goals of enhancing each woman’s knowledge base and lessening health disparities amongst different communities.
  • Christina Lewicky-Guapp, MD for her clinical research in the ASPIRe Trial: Antibiotics for Severe Perineal Laceration to prevent infection following repair. This project has the potential to change the antibiotic protocol for treating perineal lacerations that occur during childbirth. 
  • James Brandon Parker, PhD & Co-PI: Serdar Bulun, MD for their altered enhancer function research in endometriosis, a condition that impacts approximately 10 percent of women worldwide leading to chronic pelvic pain and sometimes infertility.

“We are thrilled to award these six grants to conduct life changing research and work that has a positive impact on the health of women across the globe,” said Mike Borders, President of Friends of Prentice. “Over the years, we have awarded more than $20 million to physicians and clinicians at Northwestern that all collectively work towards propelling our mission forward each year by improving the health of women at all ages and stages.” 

Since 1983, Friends of Prentice has awarded grants to more than 100 researchers and clinical programs. FOP’s annual grants initiative has funded projects in the areas of gynecologic oncology, mental health, heart disease, disparities in access to care, diabetes, HIV, uterine and pelvic medicine, genetic biomarker research, home health care outreach and more. Funds raised by FOP go directly to research, education, and patient care programs at Prentice.

For more information on each of the grants, including full proposal abstracts, please reach out to the press contact above. For more information about Friends of Prentice or how to get involved or support the organization, please visit  

About Friends of Prentice
Friends of Prentice is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization made up of a completely volunteer board, sharing a common passion for women’s health. Working in partnership with Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital, the organization advances the quality of care provided to women by investing in emerging technologies and medical advancements including groundbreaking research, clinical care programs and advanced educational opportunities. To date, Friends of Prentice has raised over $20 million to support research, education and patient care programs at Prentice Women’s Hospital.

Jennifer Podkasik
Media Contact