Haotian Wu, winner of a $500 CRF dissertation award, is a doctoral student in Environmental Health Sciences department in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. Together with his advisor, Dr. J. Richard Pilsner, Haotian examines the influence of phthalates, a ubiquitous environmental contaminant, on reproduction using participants from the Baystate IVF clinic. Specifically, their research will allow them to examine the role of sperm DNA methylation as a mechanism by which paternal phthalate exposure influences early life development (e.g. pre-implantation embryo development) and reproductive success (e.g. odds of live birth). In addition, he will also examine the relative contribution of both maternal and paternal environments to early embryonic development and overall IVF success. Such characterization of the influence of phthalates on reproductive health contributes to the understanding of the susceptibility of early life development to environmental factors.