Frontiers in Reproduction (FIR) is a 6-week long course held every summer at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole MA. FIR is a dynamic and evolving entity offering a series of daily lectures on cutting edge topics, as well as extensive discussions, laboratory research, workshops and informal seminars. Since its inception in 1998 FIR has aimed to train beginning independent scientists, advanced postdoctoral fellows in the basic or clinical sciences, as well as graduate students who are committed to clinical and basic research careers in the reproductive sciences. FIR is directed by a Board of Scientific Counselors composed of scientists who direct basic or translational research programs in different areas of the reproductive sciences. The FIR course itself is divided into three sections and is organized and implemented by one lead director and three section directors. Section 1 covers signal transduction and gene expression in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Section 2 covers gametogenesis, fertilization and stem cells. Section 3 covers implantation, development of the reproductive tract and transgenesis. The section directors and the participating faculty and lecturers are selected because of their leadership positions in the Reproductive Sciences. The overall purpose of FIR is to train the next generation of reproductive scientists and to promote collaborations and mentorship among junior and senior reproductive scientists. FIR has now been continuously held for 16 years and all indications are that we have been successful in attaining these goals.
Although we need to curb the growth of the world population we also need to ensure that individuals have the freedom to decide if they want to reproduce as well as when and how often they want to reproduce. Continued support for research and training in the reproductive sciences is needed to address these important issues and the Frontiers in Reproduction (FIR) course plays an important role in this endeavor.