In Training

SRI provides an ideal forum for young investigators to present the results of their research endeavors, in both oral and poster format, to a wide audience of peers and established colleagues, it generates an environment where critical but informal feedback is fostered, where collaborative partnerships are made, and where networking and interaction flourishes.

In Training Members are a crucial part of the Society, and during the 2013 Strategic Planning Retreat, it was determined that a stronger emphasis be put on In Training Members. Currently, various ideas and plans are being discussed and implemented in order to create a Society which focuses on its younger members. Stay tuned as these plans and ideas progress!

Meet Your In Training Member Committee!


Michael Strug, DO, PhD

Michigan State University/Spectrum Health

I am currently completing medical residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Spectrum Health/Michigan State University in Grand Rapids, MI. My clinical and research interests lie in understanding endometrial receptivity and uterine repair mechanisms. Particularly, I am interested in studying diseases associated with altered endometrial function, including endometriosis and recurrent pregnancy loss. In conjunction with the goals of the SRI, I aspire to further bridge interactions between the scientific and clinical communities. As a member of the SRI ITMC, I hope to guide in-training members during their pursuit of establishing themselves as investigators in the field of Reproductive Science.


Past Chair
Jessica Hebert, PhD
Portland State University/Oregon Health & Science University

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR. I received a PhD in Biology and a Certificate of Innovation in College Teaching from Portland State University in 2018. My current research explores the impact of obesity, gestational diabetes, and fetal sex on placental trophoblast respiration, and subsequent novel treatments. I am excited to be co-chairing the ITMC because it is at the crux of my career goals: encouraging scientific careers, networking, and collaborations for our newest investigators! Outside of research, my scientific interests also include science communication to the public and making science-based music, sometimes with the internationally-touring SRI Band The Featles.

Esra Cetin, MD
University of Chicago

I am currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Dr. Al-Hendy Lab at the Department of Obstetrics-Gynecology, University of Chicago. I got my medical degree from Turkey in 2016. My research focuses on stem cell-based therapies in the treatment of women's infertility, including premature ovarian insufficiency and polycystic ovarian syndrome. I am thrilled to be a member of ITMC. I am looking forward to interacting with investigators across cultures and contributing to in-training member development, networking, diversity, and inclusion.

Ariel Dotts
Northwestern University

I am a PhD candidate in the lab of Serdar Bulun, MD at Northwestern University – Feinberg School of Medicine. My research project focuses on the molecular role of progesterone receptor and estrogen receptor in human parturition. I also study the possible role of MED12 mutations in hormone signaling that may cause uterine leiomyoma formation. SRI has been very valuable to me as a graduate student by providing a strong network of amazing scientists and clinical researchers. As a member of the SRI ITMC,  I hope to assist in-training members in their career development and leadership development by planning beneficial networking events and panels. 

Valeria Garcia-Flores, PhD
Wayne State University

I am a Research Assistant Professor at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and Perinatology Research Branch. I obtained my PhD from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) while working with the Perinatal Immunobiology Unit. Currently as well as during my postdoctoral fellowship I have been investigating a cellular therapy that can prevent preterm birth in a murine model and its immunological impact on the mother and fetuses. I always look forward to continuing to grow both personally and professionally. As a member of the SRI DEIC and ITMC, I am truly committed to contribute to the development of training members, encouraging diversity, equity and inclusion.

Laura James-Allan, PhD
University California Los Angeles

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles. I received my PhD in Reproductive Biology from St George’s, University of London in 2017. My current research is focused on the role of the placenta in maternal health with a focus on pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes. I have been a member of SRI for several of my in-training years and am extremely excited to serve on the ITMC.  I hope to support and encourage in-training members by organizing events and opportunities to assist in their career development. 

Mancy Tong, PhD
Yale University

I am currently a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale School of Medicine where I am investigating the effects of infection and inflammation on reproductive success across gestation. I obtained my PhD in 2017 at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. Over the years, I have learnt a lot from being part of the SRI community and I am looking forward to contributing to the ITMC by organizing events and workshops for young investigators to expand their network and gain lifelong mentors within the SRI.


Kaela Varberg, PhD
University of Kansas Medical Center

I am a Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Kansas Medical Center in the laboratory of Dr. Michael J. Soares. My current line of research is aimed at identifying key factors and molecular mechanisms driving extravillous trophoblast cell lineage development in hemochorial placentation. I completed my PhD in Cellular & Integrative Physiology at Indiana University School of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Laura S. Haneline. During my doctoral training I investigated the impact of intrauterine maternal diabetes exposure on fetal vascular progenitor cell function. Outside of the lab I am very passionate about professional development, networking, and leadership development. I am excited to serve on the ITMC to support career development initiatives for SRI trainees. 

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