CGR is funded by a mix of federal grants and private philanthropy. Federal government funding for gynepathology research is relatively limited, thus it is challenging to bring new investigators from engineering or other disciplines into the field.

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CGR was launched with a grant from an anonymous foundation, to support the concept of fostering interdisciplinary endometriosis research. The original funding supported Dr. Keith Isaacson, Dr. Linda Griffith, and Dr. Doug Lauffenburger in establishing a core research program that links engineering, science, and clinical medicine. This original foundation grant was supplemented with a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to CGR Director Linda Griffith.

Subsequent philanthropic support has been provided by the Manton Foundation and the Endometriosis Foundation of America through targeted funding from the Bloomberg Foundation. We are grateful for an endowment from the John and Karine Begg Fund, as this provides ongoing discretionary support for pilot projects, student travel, specialized seminars and workshops, and special projects by MIT undergraduate students interested in gynecology. Publications arising from this philanthropic support provided crucial preliminary data for subsequent work supported by DARPA and NIH.

Federal Funding

Tissue engineering and characterization of the endometrium and lesions has been and is supported by the following projects:

  • NIH Transformative R01, “Perfused 3D Tissue Surrogates for Complex Cell – Cell Communication Systems” (NIBIB/Common Fund grantR01-EB010246), 2009 – 2014. PI: Linda Griffith. Supported development of the PrAMA matrix metalloproteinase assay, which led to the MAMBI Matrix Metalloproteinase activity-based probe assay.
  • DARPA Microphysiological Systems Program, “Biomimetics/Physiomimetics” (ONR W911NF-12-2-0039), 2012 – 2018. PI: Linda Griffith, with co-investigators David Trumper, Doug Lauffenburger, Steve Tannenbaum, Laurie Boyer, Paula Hammond, and Murat Cirit at MIT; Rebecca Carrier at Northeastern University; David Hughes and colleagues at CN Bio Innovations; Guarav Rohagti and colleagues at Continuum/Epam, Inc.; and in collaboration with William Murphy at the University of Wisconsin. Supported development of synthetic biomaterials to enable tissue-engineered epithelial-stromal co-culture for a model of the endometrial mucosal barrier along with technology to culture endometrium in a microfluidic reactor connected to other organ systems (liver, gut, brain).
  • NIH Tissue Chips Program “Microvascular Permeability, Inflammation, and Lesion Physiology in Endometriosis: A Microphysiological Systems Approach” (NIBIB grant U01 EB029132 ), 2019 – 2024. PI: Linda Griffith, with co-investigators Doug Lauffenburger, David Trumper, and Roger Kamm at MIT, in collaboration with Keith Isaacson, Megan Loring, and Stephanie Morris at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Supports development of microfluidic technologies to foster culture of vascularized 3D endometriosis lesions, under prescribed microenvironment conditions including cycles of hormones, and to examine immune cell recruitment and response to drugs.
  • NIH Covid Programs “Demystifying activity of IgG subclass antibody responses” (NIAID grant R37-AI80289) 2020-2024. Project PI: Doug Lauffenburger, in collaboration with Galit Alter at the Ragon Institute. Investigation of how pathogen-induced antibodies and associated immune cell functions, such as against SARS-CoV-2, are transferred from mother to fetus during pregnancy.


CGR’s seed resources led to significant findings, and though it also led to research funding from traditional sources, the Center relies on the generous support of donors for a variety of research-related activities, including:

  • Sponsoring seminars
  • Funding for specialized equipment and lab facilities
  • Sponsoring graduate and postdoctoral fellowships – these encourage engineering students to work on gynepathologies and young gynecologists to conduct a year of basic research
  • Providing seed grants to encourage new and established investigators in other fields to apply their approaches to all aspects of gynepathology research

The New Horizon UROP fund

MIT has long fostered a deep and substantial involvement of undergraduate students in research, through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), started in 1969 by Margaret MacVicar. The New Horizon fund arose from a special gift from John and Karine Begg to support the research of students involved in women’s reproductive health, and endometriosis in particular.

Each term, a few UROP students are paired with CGR faculty, graduate students, and postdocs to participate in both basic and translational research. Nineteen UROP students participated in nearly 30 projects from 2010 through 2020, contributing to papers and conference presentations, and gaining professional experience in clinical translational medicine. Snapshots of their projects are highlighted here (UROP student, project title, and the month and year of the CGR term):

Iris D. Abrahantes Morales

  • Meta-analysis of endometrial RNA-Seq for understanding endometrium monocyte differentiation in in vitro PEG gel model, Summer 2020

Allysa A. Allen

  • Developing and Optimizing 3D Tri-Culture Liver System, Summer 2019

Alexis Cuellar

  • Interrogating the Tissue Microenvironment at Single Cell Resolution in Patients with Endometriosis / Adenomyosis, Spring and Summer 2018

Emma S. Gargus

  • Developing Stable Microwell Arrays in an Argon Environment, Summer 2012

Lauren N. Grieco

  • Enabling Unbiased Classification of Endometriosis Stage: A Graphical Interface for Easy Annotation and Archiving of Endometriosis Lesion Metrics in the Operating Room, Fall 2012
  • Creating a Mobile App for Endometriosis Patients and Their Surgeons, Spring 2013

Margaret G. Guo

  • Building Endometriosis Software Application, Spring 2013
  • Developing New Applications of Matrix Metalloproteinase Sensors for the Study of Endometriosis, Fall 2013
  • Design FRET Probe Based Sensor System with Applications for Study of Endometriosis, Spring 2014
  • Design of a Synthetic Matrix that Promotes Epithelial Polarization, Fall 2014

Jennifer R. Ibanez

  • Clustering Signaling Peptides on Hydrogels to Improve Cell Adhesion, Spring and Summer 2014

Krystal Y. Lai

  • Vascularization of Intestinal Organoids via Co-Culture in Macrofluidic Devices, Spring 2016

Zainab A. Lasisi

  • Systems Analysis of Metalloprotease Dynamics in Cancer Invasion and Endometriosis, Fall 2012

Manuel I. Legrand

  • Protein Engineering for Detecting Invasive Endometriotic Phenotypes: Epitope mapping of EGF sensor, Summer 2011

Wangui Mbuguiro

  • Endometriotic cell identifier circuit, Summer 2016

Justin J. Merritt

  • A Study of MMP Activity in Endometriosis, Summer 2010

Nursen J. Ogutveren

  • Developing Image Processing Tools for Characterizing the Endometrial Microenvironment, Fall 2013
  • Developing a Mobile Application for Perioperative Care of Endometriosis Patients, Fall 2014

Julie Y. Ramseier

  • Two Activity Based Probe Technologies for Metalloprotease Detection, Summer 2013

Catherine G. Roukhadze

  • Demonstrating a functional epithelial barrier over a stroma with physiological responsiveness using an epithelial-stromal co-culture model of menstruation from primary endometrial biopsy, Summer 2017
  • Characterizing Vascularization with an In vitro Endometrium Co-culture Model, Summer 2018

Dorothy M. Szymkiewicz

  • Designing a Vascularized Stem Cell Derived Human Endocrine Pancreas Microphysiological System, Summer 2018
  • NEET – Living Machines Project: Towards a Perfusable Endometriosis Lesion Model, Spring 2019
  • Manufacturing a Non-Permeable Microfluidic Device, Fall 2019

Mahesh Thapa

  • Analysis of Gene Expression of Metalloproteinases and its Inhibitors in Deep Endometriosis, Summer 2013

Veronica Toro

  • MISTI-IROP: Analysis of MMP2, MMP9 and MMP14 and microRNAs in Deep Endometriosis, Summer 2014

Yiping Xing

  • High Performance Micro-Environment Fabrication, Summer 2012

MIT NEET Program

Endometriosis and adenomyosis are prominently featured in a project-based learning program led by Prof. Linda Griffith, as part of MIT’s New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) program. Launched in 2017, NEET fosters interdisciplinary team-based learning with hands-on projects that span sophomore to senior year. They feature deep immersion into challenging engineering problems. One of NEET’s two inaugural “threads” (application areas), called Living Machines, is partially supported by Bloomberg Foundation funds from the Endometriosis Foundation of America. For more information please read the article, “Never Underestimate the Importance of Teaching.”

How do I support CGR?

Donate to the CGR by clicking here, or contact Linda Griffith (