B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division of Reproductive Biology
Education and Professional Standing
A graduate of McMaster University, Dr. Foster is a Professor within the Reproductive Biology Division in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at McMaster University.
Prior to joining the faculty at McMaster, Dr. Foster served as the Associate Director of Women’s Health and Director of Research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and as the Head of Reproductive Toxicology, Health Canada, Ottawa.
Dr. Foster’s research interests fall primarily into two categories.
- The effect of dietary and environmental chemicals on human reproductive function has formed the basis of his research to date. Studies have been designed to elucidate changes in various reproductive outcomes and identify potential hazards (contaminants present in ovarian follicular fluid, endocrine disrupting substances in human amniotic fluid, changes in semen quality and time to pregnancy). Laboratory studies have been employed to both identify hazards and characterise risk to human reproductive health associated with exposure to both naturally occurring and man-made chemicals on development and reproduction. A recent focus in his laboratory is determining the extent of human in utero exposure to endocrine modulating substances such as phytoestrogens, cigarette smoke contaminants, and pesticide residues. Linking exposure during critical windows of development and reproductive function with adverse outcomes is a priority goal of Dr. Foster’s research.
- A second research goal in Dr. Foster’s laboratory is the investigation of the pathophysiology of endometriosis and studying potential beneficial effects of various dietary factors. They have recently developed a novel mouse model of endometriosis that they are employing in studies designed to test the efficacy of various agents in regulating the growth of ectopic endometrium from women with and without endometriosis.
Neurobehavioral and immune effects in children, a putative decline in semen quality, and a rise in the number of Canadian women with breast cancer, have all been linked to environmental chemical exposure. Causes for changes in various health trends continue to be hotly debated and the role of environmental toxicants remains unknown. Dr. Foster’s research program includes the following key elements to better:
- define human exposure to hormonally active chemicals (both environmental toxicants and dietary factors such as the phytoestrogens);
- determine critical windows of exposure; and
- elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of environmental toxicant action in estrogen dependent diseases such as endometriosis and breast cancer.
Current Funding Sources
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research
- Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council
- American Chemistry Council
- CIHR/Ontario Women’s Health Council
- Akeso Health Sciences
- OWHC/CIHR Salary Award
- Wright D, Gregorovich S, Hamilton S, Lukas P, Foster WG. (2010) Environmental chemical exposure research and characteristics of study subjects recruited from midwifery vs. hospital based clinics. CJMRP. (Submitted).
- Sadeu JC and Foster WG. (2010) Effect of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P)-exposure in vitro on folliculogenesis, steroidogenesis and oocyte nuclear maturation. Fertil. Steril. (Submitted).
- Foster WG, Gregorovich S, Morrison KM, Atkinson SA, Kubwabo C, Stewart B, Teo K. (2010) Human maternal and umbilical cord blood concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. (Submitted).
- Phillips KP, Leiss W, Foster WG, Krewski D. (2010) EM-COM: Development of a risk communication website to provide health risk information about endocrine disrupters. J. Hlth. Comm. (Submitted).
- Vasudev P, Farag M, Salib C, Browning D. Foster WG, Boutross-Tadross O. (2010) Tissue array analysis of apoptotic and cell cycle regulatory markers in smooth muscle tumours. Modern Pathol. (Submitted).
- Sadeu JC, Hughes CL, Agarwal SK, Foster W. (2010) Reproductive Toxicology: Alcohol, Drugs, Caffeine, Tobacco and Environmental Contaminants. Critical Reviews in Toxicol. (In Press).
- Foster WG, Maharaj-Briceño S, Cyr D. (2010) Mechanisms of dioxin action on spermatogenesis and the human health relevance of animal data. Environ. Hlth. Perspect. 118:458-464.
- Neal MS, Mulligan Tuttle AM, Casper RF, Foster WG. (2010) Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) antagonists attenuate the deleterious effects of benzo-[a]-pyrene on follicle development. RBM Online. (In Press).
- Morrison KM, Atkinson SA, Yusuf S, Bourgeois J, McDonald S, McQueen MJ, Persadie R, Hunter B, Pogue J, Teo K; FAMILY investigators. (Holloway A, Foster W, Steer P, Denburg J, Cyr M, Windsor S, Mohide P, Capes VS, Vaughn-Williams V, Gross J, Abdalla N, Sim C, Wright C, Sivaguranathan N, Singh P, Helden L, Beecroft ML.) (2009) The Family Atherosclerosis Monitoring In earLY life (FAMILY) study: rationale, design, and baseline data of a study examining the early determinants of atherosclerosis. Am Heart J. 158(4):533-9.
- Foster WG, Boutross-Tadross O, Elias R, Faghih N, Elit L. (2009) Immunolocalization of tyrosine kinase receptors Trk A and Trk B in endometriosis associated ovarian cancer (EAOC). Histopathol. 54:907-912.
- Mulligan Tuttle A, Stampfli M, Foster WG. (2009) Cigarette smoke and benzo(a)pyrene cause follicle loss in vivo and in vitro at concentrations representative of human exposure. Human Reprod. 24:1452-1459.
- Cameron HL and Foster WG. (2009) Developmental and lactational exposure to dieldrin alters mammary tumorigenesis in Her2/neu Tg mice. PLoS One. 4(1):e4303.
- Davis VL, Jayo MJ, Ho A, Kotlarczyk M, Hardy ML, Foster WG, Hughes C. (2008) Black cohosh increases metastatic mammary cancer in transgenic mice expressing c-erbB2. Cancer Res. 68:8377-8383.
- Monroy R, Morrison K, Teo K, Atkinson S, Kubwabo C, Stewart B, Foster W. (2008) Serum levels of perfluorinated compounds in human maternal and umbilical cord blood samples. Environ. Res. 108:56-62.
- Foster WG, Mirshokraei P, Holloway AC, Zhang B. (2008) Developmental and lactational exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of dieldrin does not alter pregnancy outcome and mammary gland morphology in BALB/c mice. Environ. Res. 108:21-27.
- Foster WG. (2008) Environmental estrogens and endocrine disruption: Importance of comparative endocrinology. Endocrinol. 149(9):4267-4268.
- Dominguez MM, Petre MA, Neal MS, Foster WG. (2008) Bisphenol A concentration-dependently increases human granulosa-lutein cell Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) enzyme output. Reprod. Toxicol. 25:420-425.
- Foster WG. (2008) Fetal and early postnatal environmental contaminant exposures and reproductive health effects in the female. Fertil. Steril. 89(2 Suppl):e53-54.
- Phillips KP and Foster WG. (2008) Endocrine toxicants with emphasis on human health risks. J. Toxicol. Environ. Hlth. Part B, 11:149–151.
- Foster WG, Neal MS, Han MS, Dominguez MM. (2008) Environmental contaminants and human infertility: Hypothesis or cause for concern? J. Toxicol. Environ. Hlth. Part B, 11:162–176.
- Foster WG. (2008) Endocrine toxicants including TCDD and dioxin-like chemicals and endometriosis: Is there a link? J. Toxicol. Environ. Hlth. Part B, 11:177–187.
- Phillips K and Foster WG. (2008) Key developments in endocrine disrupter research and human health. J. Toxicol. Environ. Hlth. Part B, 11:322–344.
- Foster WG and Agzarian J. (2008) Towards less confusing terminology in endocrine disrupter research. J. Toxicol. Environ. Hlth. Part B, 11:152–161.
- Phillips KP, Foster WG, Leiss W, Sahni V, Karyakina N, Turner MC, Kacew S, Krewski D. (2008) Assessing and managing risks arising from exposure to endocrine-active chemicals. J. Toxicol. Environ. Hlth. Part B, 11:351–372.
- Foster WG, Myllynen P, Winn LM, Ornoy A, Miller RK. (2008) Reactive Oxygen Species, Diabetes and Toxicity in the Placenta – A Workshop Report. Placenta [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 18281091
Contributions to books
- Rier S and Foster WG. (2003) Environmental dioxins and endometriosis. Semin. Reprod. Med. 21(2):145-154.
- Foster W and Hughes C. Chapter 2: Review of Normal Human Reproduction. (2002) In the document “Principles for Evaluating Human Reproductive Effects of Chemicals”. International Program on Chemical Safety of the World Health Organization.
- Van Vugt DA, Krzemien A, Foster W, Lundhal S, Marcus S, Reid RL. (2000). Photodynamic endometrial ablation in non-human primates. In: Photomedicine in Gynecology and Reproduction. (P. Wyss, Tadir Y, Tromberg BJ, Haller U, eds.) Karger, Basal, Switzerland, 213-218.