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Institute of Women, Children and Reproductive Health, Shandong University
2024-04-09 10:19     (点击: )

Establishment and Development:

Our institute was established by Prof. Zi-Jiang Chen in 1987, with an independent clinical and translational base, i.e. Center for Reproductive Medicine, Shandong University. It is one of the earliest to carry out research and application of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in China, and fulfilled the world's first gamete intrauterine transfer in 1992. It is the first batch of doctoral and master's degree programs and post-doctoral stations approved by the State Council. Over the years, it has achieved significant milestones in Reproductive Medicine. It was qualified to conduct in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2003, and has since grown to one of the leading IVF centers with over 500,000 patients coming each year. It established the Key Laboratory of Reproductive Endocrinology under the Ministry of Education in 2010, National Research Center for Assisted Reproductive Technology and Reproductive Genetics in 2011, Joint Reproductive Genetics Laboratory with Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2013, further solidifying its position as a leading institution in the field. It was selected as one of the top 100 hospitals in China in 2019 and ranking the second in the reproductive medicine specialty in 2021. In 2023, the center was reorganized and established the State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine and Offspring Health, the Institute of Women, Children and Reproductive Health, Shandong University, and the Suzhou Collaborative Innovation Center for Reproductive Medicine, Shandong University.


Team Members:

Led by Prof. Zi-Jiang Chen, the academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, our institute has more than 50 full-time researchers in reproductive medicine, including 14 doctoral supervisors and 26 master’s supervisors. Now it hosts 5 chief scientists of the National Key Research and Development Program of China, 1 awarded the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholar of China, 2 distinguished professors of the "Changjiang Scholars Award Program" of the Ministry of Education, and 1 leading talent of the National Special Support Program for High-level Talents. Furthermore, we have 1 Young Experts of the "Changjiang Scholars Award Program" of the Ministry of Education, 4 young talents of the National Special Support Program for High-level Talents, 1 special expert of Taishan Scholars of Shandong Province, and 14 young experts of Taishan Scholars of Shandong Province.


Research Areas:

Our institute specializes in the maintenance and promotion of reproductive health through basic research, clinical practice, and technological innovation. We are dedicated in identifying causative genes of reproductive disorders and elucidating the corresponding pathogenesis, and resolving controversies and promoting conceptual changes over infertility treatment. We are also actively engaged in technological innovation in embryo culture and genetic testing to reduce the risks of birth defects.


Research Achievements:

Our institute dedicates to clinical and basic research on reproductive medicine and offspring health.

1) We have depicted the translational map of the human oocyte-to-embryo transition, and the chromatin accessibility and 3D structural maps of human early embryo development, to uncover the intricate molecular regulatory mechanisms during human embryogenesis (Science, 2022; Nature, 2019; Cell, 2018).

2) We have established large biobanks and specialized disease cohorts for multiple reproductive disorders, such as premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). By whole-exome-sequencing and genome-wide association studies, we portraited the genetic landscape underlying POI and identified novel susceptible genes/loci for PCOS (Nat Med, 2023; NEJM, 2019; Nat Genet, 2011&2012).

3) We have finished a series of multi-center randomized controlled clinical trials (RCT) to provide first-level evidences and guidance for the efficacy and safety of strategies in ART. We proposed that the freeze-only strategy favors the high responders in increasing their live birth rate (NEJM, 2016) while for normal responders the conventional fresh embryo transfer strategy presents with similar pregnancy outcomes (NEJM, 2018). In contrast to fresh single blastocyst transfer, frozen single blastocyst transfer increased live birth rates and significantly reduced multiple pregnancy rates (The Lancet, 2019). We also clarified the scope of application of preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy and (NEJM, 2021), and revealed that among women with recurrent implantation failure, treatment with prednisone cannot improve the live birth rate compared with placebo (JAMA, 2023).

Our work significantly contributes to advancing knowledge in reproductive medicine and advocates for the standardization of the diagnosis and treatment of reproductive endocrine diseases. The work in Science has been included in the China's TOP10 breakthroughs in life science in 2022. Robert L. Barbieri, the Chairman Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital said “China has become the world’s leader in clinical trials of fertility treatment”.


Main Publications:

  1. Yan J#, Qin Y#, Zhao H#, Sun Y#, Gong F#, Li R#, Sun X#, Ling X#, Li H#, Hao C, Tan J, Yang J, Zhu Y, Liu F, Chen D, Wei D, Lu J, Ni T, Zhou W, Wu K, Gao Y, Shi Y, Lu Y, Zhang T, Wu W, Ma X, Ma H, Fu J, Zhang J, Meng Q, Zhang H, Legro RS, Chen ZJ*. Live Birth with or without Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy. N Engl J Med. 2021;385(22):2047-2058.

  2. Qin Y#, Zhang F, Chen ZJ*. BRCA2 in Ovarian Development and Function. N Engl J Med. 2019;380(11):1086.

  3. Shi Y#, Sun Y#, Hao C#, Zhang H#, Wei D#, Zhang Y#, Zhu Y, Deng X, Qi X, Li H, Ma X, Ren H, Wang Y, Zhang D, Wang B, Liu F, Wu Q, Wang Z, Bai H, Li Y, Zhou Y, Sun M, Liu H, Li J, Zhang L, Chen X, Zhang S, Sun X, Legro RS, Chen ZJ*. Transfer of Fresh versus Frozen Embryos in Ovulatory Women. N Engl J Med. 2018;378(2):126-136.

  4. Chen ZJ#, Shi Y, Sun Y, Zhang B, Liang X, Cao Y, Yang J, Liu J, Wei D, Weng N, Tian L, Hao C, Yang D, Zhou F, Shi J, Xu Y, Li J, Yan J, Qin Y, Zhao H, Zhang H, Legro RS*. Fresh versus Frozen Embryos for Infertility in the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2016;375(6):523-33.

  5. Wei D#, Liu JY#, Sun Y#, Shi Y#, Zhang B#, Liu JQ, Tan J, Liang X, Cao Y, Wang Z, Qin Y, Zhao H, Zhou Y, Ren H, Hao G, Ling X, Zhao J, Zhang Y, Qi X, Zhang L, Deng X, Chen X, Zhu Y, Wang X, Tian LF, Lv Q, Ma X, Zhang H, Legro RS, Chen ZJ*. Frozen versus fresh single blastocyst transfer in ovulatory women: a multicentre, randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2019;393(10178):1310-1318.

  6. Sun Y*#, Cui L#, Lu Y#, Tan J#, Dong X#, Ni T#, Yan J, Guan Y, Hao G, Liu JY, Zhang B, Wei D, Hong Y, He Y, Qi J, Xu B, Lu J, Zhang Q, Zhao S, Ji X, Du X, Zhang J, Liu J, Wang J, Huang Y, Huang D, Du Y, Vankelecom H, Zhang H, Chen ZJ*. Prednisone vs Placebo and Live Birth in Patients With Recurrent Implantation Failure Undergoing In Vitro Fertilization: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2023;329(17):1460-1468.

  7. Chen X#, Ke Y#, Wu K#, Zhao H#, Sun Y, Gao L, Liu Z, Zhang J, Tao W, Hou Z, Liu H, Liu J*, Chen ZJ*. Key role for CTCF in establishing chromatin structure in human embryos. Nature. 2019;576(7786):306-310.

  8. Zou Z#, Zhang C#, Wang Q#, Hou Z#, Xiong Z, Kong F, Wang Q, Song J, Liu B, Liu B, Wang L, Lai F, Fan Q, Tao W, Zhao S, Ma X, Li M, Wu K, Zhao H*, Chen ZJ*, Xie W*. Translatome and transcriptome co-profiling reveals a role of TPRXs in human zygotic genome activation. Science. 2022;378(6615):abo7923.

  9. Gao L#, Wu K, Liu Z, Yao X, Yuan S, Tao W, Yi L, Yu G, Hou Z, Fan D, Tian Y, Liu J*, Chen ZJ*, Liu J*. Chromatin Accessibility Landscape in Human Early Embryos and Its Association with Evolution. Cell. 2018;173(1):248-259.

  10. Ke H#, Tang S#, Guo T#, Hou D, Jiao X, Li S, Luo W, Xu B, Zhao S, Li G, Zhang X, Xu S, Wang L, Wu Y, Wang J, Zhang F*, Qin Y*, Jin L*, Chen ZJ*. Landscape of pathogenic mutations in premature ovarian insufficiency. Nat Med. 2023;29(2):483-492.

Facilities & Resources:

Our state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology enable us to conduct research that is both rigorous and innovative. We have a comprehensive suite of specialized laboratories with advanced instrumentation, including high-resolution microscopy systems, microinjection operating systems, flow cytometry-based cell analysis and sorting platforms, and molecular biology platforms. We have established large biobanks (2,800,000 samples), specialized disease cohorts (50,000 cases) for multiple reproductive disorders (POI, PCOS, EPL, etc.), and ARTKID cohorts (20,000 parent–offspring trios, follow-up to adolescence), to enable elucidating the mechanisms involved in reproductive disorders and evaluating the offspring health of ART.


Collaborations & Partnerships:

We believe in the power of collaboration. That's why we have forged partnerships with international institutes, including Harvard Medical School, National Institutes of Health, Yale University School of Public Health, Baylor College of Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, and University of British Columbia, and national institutes including but not limited to The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Tsinghua University, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Nanjing Medical University, and Chinese Academy of Sciences (Kunming Institute of Zoology) to further advance our research.

Recreational Activities:

We pulsate with diverse activities and thrive on a collaborative and supportive team culture. From weekly journal clubs to high-level lectures, there's always something happening. We host guest lectures by renowned experts to present cutting-edge research findings, and encourage lively discussions and knowledge-sharing. Our philosophy is "Enjoyable work, healthy life—a harmonious blend of productivity and well-being." Currently, our center offers a variety of leisure pursuits tailored to student's interests and hobbies, including basketball, football match, yoga sessions, professional development workshops and more. We also organize dinners for festivals, when we come together, share our thoughts, and celebrate achievements. Our team bonds over shared goals and a passion for reproductive health.


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