Meet male fertility expert, Andrew Dwyer
Read our interview with Andrew Dwyer, Assistant Professor at Boston College (USA) and researcher in the Harvard Reproductive Endocrine Sciences Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), to hear about his research on male fertility and the current challenges scientists are facing. He will be giving his presentation “Sexual Development and Fertility in Men” during e-ECE 2020, in the “Meet the Nurse Expert Session” on Tuesday 8 September at 12:00hrs CET.
Can you tell us a little about your research?
My research focuses on male reproduction and endocrinology and specifically, congenital hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism/Kallmann syndrome (CHH/KS). I also have projects examining family communication of risk related to genetic test results and developing digital solutions to support patients and families for genetic test decision-making.
Please tell us about your career path and what you are most proud of?
I started my career at the MGH reproductive endocrine unit in 2000, where I ran clinical research studies and participated in gene discovery work. I then moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2010 and was part of a COST Action on GnRH deficiency (CHH/KS), involving endocrinologists, geneticists, basic scientists, bioinformaticians, and patient advocates from 26 countries. In 2017, I moved back to the United States.
I would say that I am most proud of the impact our research has had on fertility outcomes for CHH/KS, as well as the collaborative advocacy work I do with patient organisations.
What are you presenting during e-ECE 2020?
My presentation is on sex development and fertility in men and explains our current understanding of mini-puberty, current fertility treatment paradigms for both CHH/KS and Klinefelter syndrome, and the importance of holistic infertility care.
Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to at this year’s Congress?
I always learn something new when I attend ECE. I think the COVID-19 specific programme will certainly be interesting, but I am particularly excited to attend the ENDO-ERN Scientific Symposium.
What do you think are the biggest challenges in your research area right now?
Not being able to conduct face-to-face research because of the COVID-19 pandemic is a barrier to research. However, I would say that obtaining funding for endocrine and rare disease research is perhaps the greatest challenge.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your research?
I have pivoted my programme of research and have used these past few months to learn new technologies to conduct research over the web and virtually. It has been a learning curve but the upside is that I am adding new research tools that will be useful moving forward.
What do you think will be the next major breakthrough in your field?
That is a very big question! I will go out on a limb and say the next breakthrough will be a sensitive and specific test to differentiate delayed puberty form CHH/KS.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Without a doubt, the most gratifying part of my work is hearing from patients and families who express their gratitude for our clinical work, research and advocacy.
Who do you most admire professionally and why?
That is a very difficult question because I have been so fortunate to work with so many amazing colleagues and collaborators. At the moment, I most admire Anthony Fauci. He stands up for science and speaks his truth despite incredible political opposition.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring endocrinologists?
Be curious, ask questions and do not be afraid to say yes to uncertain endeavours.