Contraception Research Branch (CRB)

Contraception Research Branch (CRB)Overview/Mission

CRB develops and supports research and research training programs in three areas:

  • Effects of contraceptive use on human health
  • Development of new and improved methods of contraception
  • Targeted studies to improve the development of new and improved methods of contraception

For more information on the branch, read the Assessment of the Contraceptive Research Activities of the NICHD: Executive Summary (PDF - 138 KB).

The Effect of Contraceptive Use on Human Health

Gap: Contraceptive use is prevalent throughout the world, yet the effects of contraceptive use on human health are not well understood. Research topics of interest include:

  • The effects of contraceptive methods on susceptibility to sexually transmitted diseases
  • The effects of female contraceptives on the vaginal microbiome

Priority: Support research and development on the effects of specific contraceptive methods (e.g., devices, hormonal, non-hormonal) on human health.

Development of New and Improved Methods of Contraception

Gap: There is a need to develop new contraceptive methods for populations without adequate choices, and to improve existing methods of contraception. New methods of interest include:

  • Non-steroidal methods
  • On-demand methods
  • Multipurpose prevention technologies (contraception paired with antiviral or antibacterial prevention)

Priority: Support research and development of new and improved methods of contraception. There is high interest in the development of non-steroidal methods for both men and women.

Targeted Research to Facilitate the Development of New and Improved Methods of Contraception

Gap: Development of new and improved methods of contraception will require research focused on addressing knowledge gaps, including:

  • Identification and validation of novel contraceptive drug targets that are required for fertility and that can be targeted using non-steroidal methods, such as:
    • Global identification of reproductive-tract-specific genes and proteins
    • Identification of novel contraceptive targets in spermatogonia
  • Understanding how therapeutics cross the blood-testis and/or blood-epidydimal barriers
  • Development of improved devices and delivery systems
  • Development of methods and model systems to facilitate target validation, such as:
    • Target validation through fertility evaluation of genetically modified animal models with partial target inhibition

Priority: Develop and support targeted research to facilitate the development of new and improved methods of contraception.

  • Daniel Johnston, Branch Chief
    Main Research Areas: Contraceptive development and evaluation, includes multiple methods, non-hormonal male and female methods, and other methods not addressed in other branch categories; contraceptive evaluation, including hormonal methods, intrauterine and other devices, barrier methods, spermicides/microbicides, and therapeutic agents used in reproductive health
  • Steven C. Kaufman, Medical Officer
    Main Research Areas: Investigator-initiated research grants, Male Contraceptive Development Program (U01 grants)
  • June Lee, Pharmacologist
  • David H. Weinberg, Program Officer
    Main Research Areas: Contraceptive drug development

Highlights

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