Kelle Moley elected to Institute of Medicine​

Kelle H. Moley, MD, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors medical scientists in the United States can receive. Moley was honored for her achievement in the health sciences.

Moley is the James P. Crane Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She also is a professor of cell biology and physiology and vice chair and chief of the Division of Basic Science Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Siteman Cancer Center​ member.

Moley is among 70 members and 10 foreign associates whose elections to the Institute of Medicine were announced Monday, Oct. 20, by the National Academy of Sciences. She is the first member of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the second woman currently at Washington University to receive this honor.

The Institute of Medicine serves as a national resource for independent analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences and health. It was established in 1970 as part of the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the federal government on science and technology issues. Members are selected based on their professional achievement and commitment to service.

As a member, Moley will devote a significant amount of volunteer time on committees engaged in a broad range of health-policy issues.

Moley is one of a handful of people in the world studying how maternal obesity as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetes affect reproduction, specifically the process of oocyte maturation, embryo development and implantation in mouse models.

Her work has established critical mechanisms that partly explain how short-term exposure to high concentrations of glucose or fatty acids immediately prior to and just after fertilization can alter development and result in an increase of congenital malformations, miscarriages and long-term effects on the offspring. These long-term effects include metabolic syndrome and predisposition to cancer. She also has identified novel metabolic pathways during implantation that may serve as contraceptive targets.

Further, her recent research suggests that uric acid may play a role in causing metabolic syndrome. Uric acid is a normal waste product removed from the body by the kidneys and intestines and released in urine and stool. Moley identified a uric acid transporter called Glut9. Mice missing GLUT9 in the gut were unable to eliminate waste, resulting in metabolic syndrome, her research shows.

Moley also is co-director of the Institute of Clinical and Translational Science, director of the national Reproductive Scientist Development Program and program director of the Women’s Reproductive Health Research Career Development Program. She was elected as a scholar of the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2005.

Moley earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in molecular biochemistry at Wellesley College in 1984 and a medical degree from Yale University in 1988. She then completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Washington University.

She joined the university faculty in 1992 as an instructor in obstetrics and gynecology and completed postdoctoral fellowships in molecular biology and pharmacology in the lab of the late Oliver Lowry, MD, PhD, and in cell biology and physiology in the lab of Mike Mueckler, PhD. Moley became professor of obstetrics and gynecology in 2006.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.