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Embryologist of The Month (December 2013) - Dr. Catherine Racowsky, Ph.D., HCLD



Dr. Catherine Racowsky, PhD., HCLD



Dr. Catherine Racowsky is Director of the ART Laboratory at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harvard Medical School. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Zoology at the University of Oxford, she received her Ph.D. in Reproductive Physiology from the University of Cambridge in England and then undertook her post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School.



Dr. Racowsky has served on several professional committees including the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) Executive Council, the International Taskforce for Stem Cell Research, several government oversight committees for reproductive medicine, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Practice Committee. She is a past president of the New England Fertility Society and is an ASRM Board member.  She is currently on the Promotions and Retention Committee of Harvard Medical School.


Dr. Racowsky has served as an Associate Editor of Human Reproduction and Fertility & Sterility, and is currently on the editorial board of Fertility and Sterility, the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, and Reproductive Biomedicine Online.  Her research interests include investigating the effects of maternal and environmental factors on egg quality, studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying egg maturation in vivo and in vitro, and expanding methodologies for assessing human embryo developmental competency.  She spends much of her time mentoring Harvard medical students, residents, fellows and junior faculty members.  She has authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers on various aspects of mammalian egg and embryo physiology, has published numerous news releases and book chapters, and has co-edited five books. 


One of Dr. Racowsky’s personal commitments is to contribute to improving standards in IVF laboratories world-wide.  In addition to speaking at numerous regional and national venues, she has been an invited speaker at many international ART meetings including conferences in India, Iran, Taiwan, China, Japan, Argentina, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Switzerland, Italy and the UK.  Her main focus concerns quality control and quality improvement in clinical embryology, with specific attention being given to ensuring validation of procedures before routine implementation. She is particularly known for her contributions in establishing single-step medium for growing human blastocysts in vitro.  That work with her mentor, Professor John D. Biggers, showed that a single-step medium was equally efficacious in supporting human blastocyst development, as compared with a sequential media system.