Project Highlights

The Women's Health Research Center funds multidisciplinary projects and studies across Mayo Clinic to advance research focused on the female body through all stages of life. Projects focus on illnesses, conditions and physiological responses that occur only in women, manifest differently in women compared with men, or are more prevalent in women compared with men.

Development of novel early detection test to reduce racial disparities in endometrial cancer mortality

  • Mark E. Sherman, M.D.
  • Professor of Epidemiology and Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
  • Department of Health Sciences Research

Screening tests to detect early cancers lead to early treatment and reduce deaths from the disease. However, these screening tests may not be equally or easily available to all groups of women.

This study will determine the effectiveness of an at-home, tampon-based test to detect endometrial cancer in various racial groups of women. Such an easy-to-use test could overcome an accessibility barrier for cancer screening that would reduce racial disparities in death from endometrial cancer.

Image-based assessment of sex differences in glioblastoma therapeutic response

Glioblastoma — a type of cancer that develops from cells in the brain — occurs more frequently in men than in women. This project investigates if there is a difference in how men and women respond to glioblastoma treatment.

Understanding sex differences in treatment responses will help researchers develop more effective, sex-specific treatments to improve men's glioblastoma survival rates.

Prolactin and pain

  • Frank Porreca, Ph.D.
  • Supplemental Consultant
  • Division of Molecular Neuroscience

Stress may trigger pain more readily in some women than in most men. Stress may activate release of the hormone prolactin from the brain, which results in sensitization of pain receptors, including those associated with migraine. This project is characterizing the receptors and circuits activated by prolactin in order to develop a specific therapeutic target to alleviate pain.

Sex steroids and autonomic regulation of the vascular tone

  • Sarah E. Baker, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Professor of Physiology
  • Anesthesiology Research

Menopausal hormone treatments are used by women to relieve hot flashes, night sweats and sleep disturbances that are common in the transition to and during menopause. Women who experience these conditions may be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and stroke. This study focuses on how estrogen in menopausal hormone treatments affects regulation of the nerves that control the blood vessels to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.