This month we spoke with Dr. Emily Jungheim, MD, MSCI, Prematurity Research Center Theme 3 Leader.
What is your background and education?
I am a Reproductive Endocrinologist and fertility specialist. As all of us experience in life, my path here took some detours, but when I reflect on them they all make sense.
I decided on a career in women’s health when I was a third year medical student at Loyola University in Chicago. I was considering surgery and when asked why by the Chair of the Department of Surgery, I replied something along the lines of loving the intricacy of the procedures, working with my hands, and the opportunity to see direct improvements in outcomes postoperatively.
He replied that the key to a great career was enjoying the patients and the physiology behind their disease. I didn’t realize the importance of these words at the time, and ultimately there were many things that went into my decision to pursue OB-Gyn, but I have to say I enjoy my patients and I love the physiology behind the conditions I treat. He was right.
After finishing at Loyola I went on to Duke where I completed my OB-Gyn residency. At Duke I was inspired to pursue fellowship training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) at Washington University where I’ve been on faculty since 2008. After coming to Washington University, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to get additional research training in the Clinical Investigation program. This program inspired me to continue to ask and pursue important research questions that come up in my clinical practice.
What is your role and research within the PRC?
I work primarily with women who are struggling to conceive. My research is focused on identifying factors that we can fix or change to help these women get pregnant and have healthy babies.
As the director of the REI fellowship training program at Washington University, I also work to train future REI physicians who are equally inspired and committed to helping women have the best possible chance at having a child. I’ve been fortunate in that our fellows are always asking new questions that need to be addressed in our clinical practice, and I enjoy working with them and training them to find these answers.
What are your interests outside of work?
I’m married to Ken Carson, a medical oncologist who inspires and pushes me personally and professionally every day, and we have two daughters, Caroline (10) and Katie (6). The girls take up most of our time outside of work—they keep us on our toes and we love watching them grow!