Phyllis Leppert started out as a nurse-midwife in the 1960s, then took a turn toward medical school, earning an MD in 1973 and then a biology PhD in 1986. She developed a research interest in the biology of the uterine cervix, and specifically its elastin fiber network. After a stint as chief of the Reproductive Services Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, she joined Duke University’s obstetrics and gynecology faculty in 2006. There she focuses on issues in reproductive health and primary and preventive reproductive medicine for women. She has written for women’s magazines and today focuses on uterine fibroids, a health scourge that affects 7 of 10 U.S. women of childbearing age.