Summer Goodson earned her Ph.D. in Cell and Development Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011. Now, only five years later, she has been recognized for a significant contribution in the field of andrology. In April, at the 41st Annual American Society of Andrology (ASA) Conference in New Orleans, LA, she was evaluated by anonymous judges and became one of four out of 148 trainees to receive the Trainee Merit Award.

This award is given to Trainee Members of the ASA who present research that can be defined as a “significant contribution” to the field of andrology. Goodson received this award for developing a better method to study sperm motility.

When studying sperm cells, “it’s not just important that they move, but also how they move,” Goodson explains. Until now, there was no way to measure sperm movement and patterns on a mass scale, thus, significantly impairing research quality and time in the field. Goodson created a multi-disciplinary group to improve on the existing model. She began this work in mouse models while completing her dissertation and continued working on it in her postdoctoral career. In her time at the NRI she began testing the method in human samples.

Through NRI state-of-the-art facilities and in collaboration with colleagues she was able to succeed in her endeavors. “Tamara Marlowe and Tondra Blevins, the NRI’s medical lab technicians, generated the data from samples that was needed to create this method. I would not have succeeded without their help,” Goodson shared. “This breakthrough was an NRI-led endeavor, developed and modified by a team of people.”

When this method is implemented it will help andrology researchers working on male reproduction and fertility studies. Goodson says, “I hope it allows for greater power in basic study sciences and will translate well into clinical work.”

The American Society of Andrology (ASA) is a partnership of scientists and clinicians with more than 600 members around the world whose specialty fields include male reproduction, endocrinology, urology, molecular and cell biology, and reproductive technologies. The Society, which fosters a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of male reproduction, exists to promote scientific interchange and knowledge of the male reproductive system. (andrologysociety.org)