Faculty & Staff

James M. Goldfarb, MD, MBA, Clinical Professor and Fellowship Director

Dr. Goldfarb returned to the UH/CWRU Department in 2010, having spent his career helping to give Cleveland a reputation for highly innovative and successful fertility treatment, including the world’s first surrogate pregnancy achieved by his team here in 1986. He started one of the earliest IVF programs in the nation and has made overseeing high quality ART programs his main focus since 1982. He is a past President of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART), and speaks and writes extensively on all facets of IVF and infertility. Dr. Goldfarb serves as the overall clinical and research director for the fellows, meeting with them regularly to supervise their progress and ensure that each fellow pursues a research project which will result in the completion of a thesis which may be utilized in their certification process.

James H. Liu, MD, Professor of Reproductive Biology and Department Chair

Dr. Liu has been the Department chair since 2001. Previously, he was the REI Division Director and Fellowship Program Director at the University of Cincinnati for over a decade. He is an internationally known expert in hormonal changes associated with aging and therapeutic hormone effects during menopause. He has extensive translation and clinical research experience, and has been the Principal Investigator on multiple NIH and industrial grants, including the Women’s Health Initiative and the NICHD Clinical Contraceptive Trials Network. His clinical areas of interest include menopausal medicine, osteoporosis, infertility, and assisted reproductive techniques. He is an active clinician and will serve as a clinical, infertility surgery, and research mentor.

Dr. Sam Mesiano, Associate Professor of Reproductive Biology

Dr. Sam Mesiano is a graduate of Monash University, Melbourne Australia, where he received a PhD in Physiology (Reproduction) specializing in the hormonal control of fetal growth. As a WM Keck Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Endocrinology he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco where he studied the development and functional biology of the human fetal adrenal cortex, after which he remained at UCSF as a faculty member. During that time he co-mentored REI fellows in the UCSF program guiding them through the basic science (mainly molecular biology) of their research projects. In 1998 Dr. Mesiano moved to the University of Newcastle, Australia, where he was a Senior Lecturer and Principal Investigator in the Mothers and Babies Research Centre. His research examined the role of steroid hormones in the control of human pregnancy and parturition. In 2004 he joined the faculty in the Department of Reproductive Biology at CWRU where he continues to perform research into the molecular endocrinology of steroid hormone action in human reproduction specializing in pregnancy and parturition. As co-director of the UH Ob/Gyn Research Division he plays an active role in mentoring clinical fellows and ensuring that expertise and infrastructure are available to ensure success. He brings hands-on experience in basic research into human reproduction to the UH REI fellowship program and actively participates in the planning, implementation and analysis research outcomes. Dr. Mesiano is the CWRU/UHHS/MetroHealth site director for the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Ohio Collaborative and his research is also funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth.

Current Fellows

Kristin Van Heertum, MD

Kristin received her medical degree from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Abington-Jefferson Health in Abington, Pennsylvania, where she was served as Administrative Chief Resident. Her research focuses on the effects of increasing levels of intervention on embryonic competence. Her clinical interests include reproductive surgery and PCOS.

Valerie Libby, MD, MPH

Valerie is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her MPH in Global Public Health from George Washington University. She received her medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Her research focuses on the effects of progesterone and the immune system on endometrial receptivity and pregnancy outcomes. Her clinical interests include premature ovarian failure and egg freezing. She loves traveling, exercising, and spending time with family.

Channing Burks, MD

Channing is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from Indiana University with a Major in Biology, Minors in Chemistry and Spanish. She graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine. She completed OB/GYN residency at Rush university Medical Center and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Fellowship at University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests include progesterone and effects on implantation/early pregnancy, recurrent implantation failure, RPL, and chronic endometritis. She loves spending time with family including her husband and son, friends, running/working out, and cooking.

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