This is the final installment in a 3-part blog series featuring Oncofertility Consortium member, Laxmi Kondapalli, MD, MSCE. In this post, we take a look at her current position at the University of Colorado and her latest research endeavors. To read the 1st blog, click here and for the 2nd post, click here.
Mid-2011, while Laxmi was finishing up her clinical work at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), she was recruited by the University of Colorado in Denver to start the first fertility preservation program in the mountain region. Laxmi accepted with the goal of creating a comprehensive wellness program at Denver and in September of 2011, she began working at her current position as an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Laxmi is working on a women’s reproductive health research grant, meaning that 75% of her time is protected for research, and 25% of her time is reserved for clinical care. According to Laxmi, “Given that I do clinical research and that my area of interest is fertility preservation, there’s a lot more fluidity in the composition of my time because so many of my patients that I see clinically, I also try to recruit into my research protocols.” Even though the University of Colorado is a part of the National Physicians Cooperative (NPC), they had yet to have any patients who had undergone ovarian tissue freezing. Laxmi made it her mission to make fertility preservation a big presence on the university campus. She works with the cancer center, breast oncology unit and she has special privileges at the children’s hospital working with the pediatric team on fertility. Laxmi explains, “I want to make sure that fertility preservation is a component of care for all patients.”
Currently, Laxmi is involved in several research projects for men and women including; Reproductive Outcomes in Cancer Survivors: Examining Perinatal Outcomes in the Women with a History of Cancer; Semen Parameters in Adolescent Male Cancer Patients; and Reproductive Potential in Young Breast Cancer Survivors: Interplay between Markers of Ovarian Reserve, Metabolism and Tumorogenicity. However, her research is not just science based, it has an outreach component as well. In Fall 2012, in conjunction with Fertile Action and the Oncofertility Consortium, Laxmi is launching the PACT program (Parenthood After Cancer Treatment), which is a patient and provider outreach program on fertility preservation. Patients and providers spend a day learning about the long term consequences of cancer treatment, fertility preservation and where to go to access it.
In sum Laxmi says, “I stayed in academics because I like academics and because I am the product of great mentorship. I hope to inspire residents and fellows that I work with in the same way that I was inspired.”