Amander Clark, PhD

Amander Clark, Ph.D. 

Professor, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology; Director, UCLA Center for Reproductive Science, Health and Education

Bio

Amander Clark, Ph.D., is a stem cell scientist, geneticist and developmental biologist who studies reproductive cells of the ovaries and testes. Her research program combines stem cell biology, genetics and genomics to identify the genes and pathways that regulate human fertility and promote reproductive health. Clark hopes her research will create new options for people who face an infertility diagnosis and inform the development of novel contraceptive methods. 

The Clark lab uses pluripotent stem cells to study the molecular and genetic events that regulate the production of ovarian follicular cells and germ cells, which create eggs or sperm. Clark and her team strive to characterize the key stages of healthy germ cell and ovarian follicle development to discover the genes, pathways and environmental factors that can disrupt this process, ultimately causing reproductive aging and infertility. According to the World Health Organization, infertility affects an estimated 186 million individuals worldwide and is common among cancer survivors whose eggs or sperm have been damaged by chemotherapy and radiation treatment and for women of advanced reproductive age experiencing ovarian failure.

In 2020, Clark and collaborators from Northwestern University, Rutgers University and MIT were awarded a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to establish the multi-disciplinary Ovarian Contraceptive Discovery Initiative. Her lab’s goal is to expand methods for reproductive choice by creating new approaches for contraceptive discovery screening through the use of stem cell differentiation. Contraceptive use has lifted millions of women and girls out of poverty, increased retention in school and ultimately enabled increased workforce participation. Developing new forms of accessible and low-cost contraceptives is essential to ensure choice, and that babies are born healthy and wanted.

Clark earned a doctorate degree in cell and developmental biology from the University of Melbourne and completed post-doctoral fellowships and Baylor College of Medicine and the University of California, San Francisco.

Publications

Honors & Affiliations

Honors

  • Young Investigator Award, Concern Foundation, 2015
  • Young Investigator Award, Lance Armstrong Foundation, 2007
  • Career Development Award, STOP Cancer Foundation, 2007
  • Young Investigator Award, International Society for Stem Cell Research, 2003

Affiliations

  • President-Elect, International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • Elected Vice President, International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Society for the Study of Reproduction
  • The Hinxton Group
  • UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program
  • UCLA Molecular Biology Institute

Funding

Clark’s work is funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, STOP Cancer, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Templeton Foundation and the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center.

Videos

Creating Embryonic Stem Cell Lines
Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA scientist, Dr. Amander Clark has a CIRM grant to develop new embryonic stem cell lines that are suitable for transplantation therapies. She also uses the lines to study infertility.
The Next Frontier in Stem Cell Research
UCLA Life Sciences Public Lecture: "The Next Frontier in Stem Cell Research" Amander Clark, PhD March 16, 2011
Using stem cells to understand infertility
Amander Clark's research goal is to understand issues related to reproductive health in order to find better ways to treat infertility, birth defects and tumors of the 'germ cells' (the cells that differentiate into egg or sperm cells). In this video, she discusses how she is using stem cells to understand germ cell biology and infertility.