We are committed to changing lives through research, advancing the world’s understanding of endometriosis for earlier detection, easier diagnosis, better treatments, and improved outcomes.
How We Study Endometriosis
To improve the understanding and treatment of endometriosis, we conduct:
- Basic scientific research
- Clinical research
- Translational research
- Interdisciplinary research
- Collaborative studies with national and international institutions and organizations around the world
The Latest from Our Labs
Learn more about our current areas of focus in endometriosis research, the latest findings, and promising new treatments being explored.
The Role of Gut Microbiome in Endometriosis
To provide new insight into the factors that contribute to the development of endometriosis, Baylor College of Medicine researchers in the Kommagani Lab, led by Ramakrishna Kommagani, Ph.D., are investigating the role of the gut microbiome, a community of microorganisms living inside the body, in endometriosis.
Their findings, as published in the journal Cell Death Discovery, suggest that certain gut microbiome communities and/or their metabolites – products produced by the microbes – can contribute to endometriosis progression, and that modifying the composition of these communities could help control the condition in human patients.
The findings also suggest that studying microbiome metabolites in human stool samples could be used as a diagnostic tool.
From the Labs: Altered gut microbiome and its products promote endometriosis in animal model
Exploring Potential New Endometriosis Treatments
The Sang Jun Han Lab is focused on defining a new molecular mechanism to explain how endometriosis initiates and progresses, enabling the development of new treatments that suppress the progression of the disease without the adverse effects of current hormonal therapies.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Biomedical Science, the team found that oleuropein, a natural component found in olive leaves, suppressed the growth of endometriosis lesions in mouse models and improved the pregnancy rate in mice with endometriosis.
Future studies will explore the value of oleuropein as a non-hormonal therapy to treat endometriosis.
From the Labs: Exploring a potential new treatment for endometriosis
Gene Identified That Increases the Risk of Endometriosis
Research conducted by Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in collaboration with the University of Oxford, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Bayer AG used genetic analyses of two species with spontaneous endometriosis – humans and rhesus monkeys – to identify a specific gene, NPSR1, that increases the risk of the disease.
As published in Science Translational Medicine, the insights revealed in the genetic analysis point to a potential new nonhormonal drug target to reduce the inflammation and abdominal pain caused by endometriosis.
The study, which involved Dr. Jeffrey Rogers’ BCM Human Genome Sequencing Center lab, is one of the first examples of DNA sequencing in nonhuman primates to validate results in human studies, and the first to significantly impact our understanding of the genetics of common, complex metabolic diseases.
From the Labs: NPSR1 gene link to endometriosis reveals a potential drug target
Studying the Endometrium to Improve Women’s Reproductive Health
Led by Diana Monsivais, Ph.D., the Monsivais Lab in the department of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor is focused on better understanding the cell signals that prepare the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, for pregnancy. New knowledge on how these signals control epithelial cell remodeling, stromal cell differentiation, and regeneration offers new potential to address diseases that affect the endometrium, including endometriosis, endometrial cancer, menstrual disorders and infertility.
During her Ph.D. studies in Dr. Serdar Bulun’s lab, Dr. Monsivais discovered the critical roles of GTPases and kinases, components of signaling pathways, in the development of endometriosis. Today, her team uses genetically engineered mice and innovative 3D human translational models to study and identify when the signaling pathways of endometrial regeneration go awry.
Promising New Endometriosis Drug Interventions
Dr. Diana Monsivais and Drs. Stephen Palmer and Martin Matzuk from Baylor’s Center for Drug Discovery lead a team of drug discovery investigators poised to develop therapeutic kinase inhibitors that can cause regression of endometriosis lesions and eliminate the pain associated with this disease.
The team is working with Baylor’s minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon Dr. Xiaoming Guan to obtain donated lesions from consenting endometriosis patients to study the effectiveness of these new drug interventions.
In patients with endometriosis, the body responds to endometrial-like cells growing outside the uterus by generating an inflammatory response to destroy the lesions. The team’s goal is to pause this immune response with a kinase inhibitor, enabling the lesions to undergo cell death while preserving normal uterine cells. The investigators are also working on demonstrating the ability of these kinase inhibitors to interrupt the transmission of pain signals to the brain, in animal models.