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Dr. Orwig is a leader of the Fertility Preservation Program in Pittsburgh, a comprehensive approach to educate cancer patients of all ages and both sexes about how their treatment could affect fertility and to provide options for preserving or restoring the ability to have children in the future.
The focus of his research is the spermatogonial stem cell, which is the precursor cell for sperm production in the testes. Through the Fertility Preservation Program, preadolescent boys or adult males can have small samples of their testicular tissue cryopreserved, with aim of restoring fertility by isolating and transplanting the spermatogonial stem cells back to the patient after cancer treatment is complete. The technique is experimental, but in extensive preclinical testing, sperm production has successfully resumed after transplant.
Dr. Orwig completed his doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics and animal sciences at Oregon State University, and did postdoctoral training at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania. He joined Pitt in 2003.