Our Team

The Michigan Pelvic Floor Research Group has been formed around, and within, the Sex and Gender Factors Affecting Women's Health SCOR. It includes approximately 40 individuals – both SCOR investigators and others performing research related to pelvic floor dysfunction including gynecologists, urologists, colorectal surgeons, biomechanical engineers, nurse researchers, nurse midwives, social scientists, cell biologists, epidemiologists, anatomists, anthropologists and statisticians who are dedicated to improving the prevention and treatment of women's pelvic floor disorders. Our strategy has been to use the multifaceted approaches from these many disciplines to see fresh approaches to long standing problems, and to design hypothesis-driven research to answer questions of direct importance to improving prevention and treatment. The nature of the interactions within this group is consistent with the goals of interdisciplinary scientific inquiry as outlined by the NIH, which notes "Interdisciplinary research integrates the analytical strengths of two or more often disparate scientific disciplines to create a new hybrid discipline."

Investigators

John O.L. DeLancey

John O.L. DeLancey, M.D.

Dr. DeLancey received his Bachelor of Science in biology from Oberlin College in 1973 and received his Medical Degree from the University of Michigan in 1977. He completed his residency in 1981 at the University of Michigan in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Currently, he is a Norman F. Miller Professor for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical Center. His research interests include: the anatomy of the pelvic floor, pelvic floor biomechanics, vaginal birth and pelvic floor injury. Dr. DeLancey is the Director of the Pelvic Floor Research Group, and principle investigator for PERL2, OPAL, EPI and SCOR projects and co-investigator on the PERL1+ project.

James Ashton-Miller

James A. Ashton-Miller, Ph.D.

Dr. Ashton-Miller received his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 1972 from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. He received his master of science in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974 and his Ph.D. in biomechanics from the University of Oslo in 1982. Currently, he is the director of the Biomechanics Research Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He also is a senior research scientist at the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan. His research interests include: the biomechanics, functional anatomy and aging of the female pelvic floor structures including muscle, fascia, tendons, nerves, urethra, vagina, and rectum; experimental and computer simulation approaches; instrumentation design and development; and measurement systems. Dr. Ashton-Miller is a co-investigator on PFRG's PERL2, OPAL and SCOR projects. He is the project leader of Project 1: Measurement rate of fetal head descent and Core B (Imaging) of SCOR.

Mitchell Berger

Mitchell Berger, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Berger graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where he double majored in Biochemistry and Economics, then entered the combined MD/PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania, working in the laboratory of Mark Lemmon PhD. His PhD thesis was on Mechanisms of ErbB Receptor Oligomerization, for which he received the Saul Winegrad, MD, Award for Outstanding Dissertation. He was awarded his PhD degree in 2004, and received his MD in 2005 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Berger then completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan prior to starting his fellowship here in Female Pelvic Medicine/Reconstructive Surgery.

Dee Fenner

Dee E. Fenner, M.D.

Dr. Fenner received a medical degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1985 and completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan in 1989. She is a Harold Furlong Professor, Director of the Division of Gynecology and Director of Surgical Services in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan. She is currently a board member for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology/Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery and President of the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS). Her research interests include: anal incontinence and defecation disorders; depression and its impact on urge incontinence. Dr. Fenner is a co-investigator on PFRG's EPI and SCOR projects.

Lisa Kane Low

Lisa Kane Low, Ph.D., R.N., C.N.M. F.A.C.N.M.

Dr. Low received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan in 1984. She went on to receive a Master of Science in nurse midwifery from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1987. She also received a Ph.D. in women's health from U-M in 2001. Dr. Low was a BIRCWH Scholar from 2001-2003. Currently, Dr. Low is an assistant research scientist in the School of Nursing and a lecturer with the Department of Women Studies and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include care practices during childbirth with an emphasis on the association of processes of care and social support on health outcomes postpartum. Dr. Low's research focus has included methods of perineal management, social support and the use of doulas during labor and childbirth and care practices during labor in low resources settings (International project work in Honduras). Dr. Low is a co-investigator on Core A of the SCOR Project.

Janis Miller

Janis M. Miller, Ph.D., R.N.C.

Dr. Miller received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Goshen College in 1981 and a Master of Science in Nursing from Loyola University of Chicago in 1987. She went on to receive certification in gerontology in 1999, a Ph.D. in nursing in 1996, and adult nurse practitioner certification in 2000. Currently, Dr. Miller is a faculty member in University of Michigan's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and in the School of Nursing. Her research interests focus on understanding the etiology of urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders in order to provide the most effective prevention strategies and conservative treatment interventions. Dr. Miller is a principal investigator on Project 2: Evaluating Maternal Recovery from Labor and Delivery (EMRLD) and the IRIS project for SCOR. She also is co-investigator on the PERL 1+, OPAL, EPI and SCOR projects.

Daniel Morgan

Daniel M. Morgan, M.D.

Dr. Morgan received a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1991 from Yale University. He went on to receive a Medical Degree in 1998 from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Morgan completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan in 2002. Dr. Morgan completed a fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Michigan in 2005. Dr. Morgan is a BIRCWH scholar in Obstetrics; Gynecology at the University of Michigan. His research interests include pelvic floor disorders and he is involved in the research efforts of all PFRG projects.

Megan Schimpf

Megan Schimpf, M.D.

Dr. Schimpf received both a Bachelor of Science and a Medical Degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her residency in 2005 at the University of Connecticut and then finished a fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Hartford Hospital in 2008. She joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in January 2012 as an associate professor after working at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include surgical outcomes, perioperative care and medical education. Outside of medicine, she enjoys traveling and sports.

Carolyn Swenson

Carolyn Swenson, M.D.

Dr. Swenson received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Eastern Mennonite University in 2003 and her MD from the Medical College of Georgia in 2008. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah in 2012. She finished a fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Michigan in 2015 and has now joined the faculty as an assistant professor and WRHR scholar. She is involved in several PFRG projects focusing on apical support.

Ruth Zielinski

Ruth Zielinski, Ph.D.

Dr. Zielinski received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from University of Michigan in 1992. She went on to receive a Master of Science in 1995 and has been practicing nurse midwivery since that time. Dr Zielinski recently completed her PhD in Nursing at the University of Michigan in 2009. She continues to assist with projects in the PFRG.

Trainees

Natalie Karp

Natalie Karp, M.D.

Dr. Karp received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology-Neuroscience from the University of Richmond in 2003 and her MD from the Medical College of Virginia in 2010. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Virginia in 2014. She is currently the third year fellow in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Michigan. She is involved with several research efforts of the PFRG.

Anne Sammarco

Anne Sammarco, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Sammarco received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Colgate University in 2006, and her MD and MPH from Tulane University School of Medicine, and the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2011. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in 2015. She is currently the second year fellow in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Michigan.

Emily English
Emily English, M.D.
 
Dr. English received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from McGill University in Montreal in 2008 and her MD from The University of Tennessee College of Medicine in 2012. She then completed her OB/GYN residency at Stanford University Hospitals and Clinics in 2016. She is currently the first year fellow in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Michigan.

Staff 

Morgen Barroso

Morgen Barroso, B.A.

Ms. Barroso received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Biology and a concentration in Biopsychology from Kenyon College in 2016. With her passion for human rights, she is pursuing a career in social justice. Ms. Barroso joined the PFRG in 2016 and currently works as the clinical research coordinator for LURN and R21 Surgical Prediction Study.

Sarah Block

Sarah Block, B.G.S.

Ms. Block received a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the University of Michigan in 1992. In her role as Research Support Specialist for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, she provides support to the Pelvic Floor Research Group in the areas of ClinicalTrials.gov, PubMed Central coordination and management, manuscript and proposal editorial assistance, and other data projects.

Luyun Chen

Luyun Chen, Ph.D.

Dr. Chen received her bachelor and master of science degrees in Engineering, majoring in precision instrumentation, from Tsinghua University in 2001. She received a masters in electrical engineering systems in 2006 and applied statistics in 2007, and a Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering in 2008 from the University of Michigan. She worked as a Research Scientist at Xoran Technologies Inc., a startup CT medical imaging company in Ann Arbor for two years. She is currently a research fellow in the Biomechanics Research Lab, intrested in pelvic floor functional anatomy and modeling.

Nina Dutta

Nina Dutta, B.S.

Nina Dutta received her Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Gender & Health from the University of Michigan in 2014. She joined the PFRG in 2014 as a clinical research coordinator and is now a research consultant for the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Nina is currently pursuing a J.D. at the University of Michigan Law School.

Anita English

Anita English, B.A., C.R.A.

Ms. English earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in 1996, and certification in research administration from the Research Administrators Certification Council in 2016. She has worked for the University of Michigan in several administrative support roles since 1989, and has served as a research administrator since 1998. She joined the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2014 and provides post-award research administration support, including financial and administrative management.

Kenneth Guire

Kenneth E. Guire, M.A.

Mr. Guire received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1965. He went on to receive a Master of Arts in Statistics from the University of Michigan in 1967. Mr. Guire is the biostatistician for the OPAL and SCOR projects.

Giselle Kolenic

Giselle Kolenic, B.A.

Ms. Kolenic received a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University in Accounting and Economics in 2006. She went on to receive a Master of Arts in Applied Statistics from the University of Michigan in 2010. Ms. Kolenic is a Statistician Lead with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and provides biostatistical support to the PFRG.

Katie Kowalk

Katie Kowalk, B.S.

Ms. Kowalk is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience, and was also a four year member of the University of Michigan softball team. With a love of children and medicine, Katie is pursuing a career in Pediatrics. She works for the PFRG as a study coordinator for POPI and PALS.

Jiajia Luo

Jiajia Luo, Ph.D.

Mr. Luo received Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from Xiamen University in China in 2004 and 2007. He went on to receive a Master of Science and a Ph.D degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2009 and 2012. He is working on SCOR and OPAL projects.

Ruta Misiunas

Ruta B. Misiunas, B.A.

Ms. Misiunas received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 1982. Ms. Misiunas is a clinical research coordinator for the Project 2 - EMRLD Study.

Suzan Lowe

Suzan (Rohrer) Lowe, R.T., B.A.

Ms. Rohrer recieved her Associate's degree in Applied Sciences from Grand Rapids Community College in 1995 and her Bachelor's degree in Health Policy Studies in 2005 from the University of Michigan, Dearborn. She works with the EMRLD2 and OPAL PW projects of the SCOR2 grant as an MRI technician.

Alexandra Thomason

Alexandra Thomason, B.S.

Ms. Thomason is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience. During her four years, she was also a member of the University of Michigan women's water polo team. Ali works for the PFRG as a clinical research coordinator for LURN and R21 Surgical Prediction Study.

Julie Tumbarello

Julie Tumbarello, M.A.

Ms. Tumbarello received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology with minors in Southeast Asian Studies and Women's Studies from Northern Illinois in 1993. She went on to receive a Master of Arts in Anthropology from Northern Illinois University in 1996 and continued for 2 years in Medical Anthropology at the University of California, San Fransciso. Ms. Tumbarello currently serves as both the PFRG Project Manager and The Manager of Research Compliance and Operations for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.