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Jayes Accepts Duke Research Position

By Eddy Ball
January 2008

"This is a very stimulating atmosphere," Jayes said of NIEHS. "People are really very easy to meet here after a seminar or anywhere." (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

It won't be much consolation for her colleagues in the NIEHS Trainees Assembly (NTA) who will miss her energy and dedication to her fellow trainees. But the loss of Friederike Jayes, D.V.M., Ph.D., for NIEHS will be a gain for students at Duke University Medical Center. Jayes will begin work there on January 7 as a senior research associate in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN).

"There's never really been a certain job category out there that I could look for, certainly not as a traditional PI [Principal Investigator]," Jayes said of her search. "I've always tried to find a bigger group where I can fit in and contribute as part of a team.... It [my new position] is not officially a tenure-track position yet, but hopefully it will lead into one."

In her new position, Jayes will work with a group of investigators headed by Phyllis C. Leppert, M.D., Ph.D., ( Exit NIEHS the department vice chair for research and former chief of the Reproductive Science Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHHD). Jayes will be studying the molecular biology of reproduction and working on the etiology of uterine fibroids and the development of new medical treatments for these extremely common benign tumors in women of reproductive age.

Jayes got to know her new supervisor during the course of her research with the Receptor Biology Group in the NIEHS Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Biology headed by Ken Korach, Ph.D., and with the Laboratory of Women's Health headed by Barbara Davis, V.M.D, Ph.D. Jayes worked with Davis during the time the group chief served as principal investigator of the Fibroid Growth Study(;jsessionid=6E241D1D2B17A127A4CEAD9094D870BA?order=1. Exit NIEHS

Jayes was active in the NTA and served as chairperson of the 2007 NIEHS Career Fair Committee. She is shown queuing up a PowerPoint presentation for the event's guest speaker, Preston MacDougall, Ph.D.
Jayes was active in the NTA and served as chairperson of the 2007 NIEHS Career Fair Committee. She is shown queuing up a PowerPoint presentation for the event's guest speaker, Preston MacDougall, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

When Jayes learned of Leppert's retirement from NICHHD and return to Duke, where she got her M.D., Jayes began the networking and "listening around" that ultimately landed her the position. Leppert's motivation for coming back to Duke was to strengthen the basic research component in the OB/GYN department, and Jayes felt being a part of Leppert's group would be a good career match and offer her an opportunity to make a contribution.

"[I realized that] many clinical people don't have the time to fit basic research into their rotations in OB/GYN and saw a potential for someone like me to help support the research program and also to help medical students understand the value of basic research," Jayes explained. "I've been interacting with her [Leppert] for over a year now, which motivated her to find a place for me in the group she is building at Duke. I've been exposed to many different aspects of reproductive physiology and felt that a broad range of experience was one of the strengths I could offer her."

Jayes came to NIEHS in 2002 after earning a doctorate at North Carolina State University in physiology. She completed her D.V.M. at the German University of Giessen, which is officially known as the Justus-Liebig-Universit├Ąt Gießen, before she made a permanent move to the United States in 1988.

As she was wrapping up her tenure at the Institute, Jayes paused to reflect on her experience as a postdoc at NIEHS. "It's a really conducive environment for developing personally and scientifically. I've been very fortunate both times, with Barbara Davis' group and with Ken Korach's group, to be a part of teams that are very supportive and really interact well with each other."

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