In Memoriam: Robert N. Taylor, MD, PhD

Published January 30, 2024

Robert N. Taylor MD PhD; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Assistant Dean and Director of the MD-PhD Program; Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; University at Buffalo; 2020.

Robert N. Taylor, MD, PhD

Robert N. Taylor, MD, PhD, assistant dean and director of the MD-PhD Program and professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, died on Jan. 22. He was 71.


A celebration of his life and legacy will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Saturn Club, 977 Delaware Ave., Buffalo.

Memorial gifts honoring Taylor may be made to the Robert N. Taylor, MD, PhD, Memorial Fund for Reproductive Medicine at

Accomplished Physician-Scientist, Educator, Clinician

Taylor was an accomplished physician-scientist, educator and clinician who had a distinguished 40-year career in medicine and reproductive health. He was among the world’s top researchers studying endometriosis, a chronic, painful and poorly understood condition that affects 5-10% of women worldwide.

The author of hundreds of scientific papers, five books and many book chapters, he was a prolific researcher who focused on endometriosis, human endometrial function, uterine biology and embryonic implantation. His laboratory was continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1987, focused on investigations of the molecular and cell biology of the human uterus and placenta.

Taylor’s most recent work examined the relationship between endometriosis lesions and pain, investigations that may lead to new therapeutic targets for the condition.

Those who knew Taylor, whether in his role as a researcher, clinician or educator, speak of him as a kind, generous and empathetic mentor and colleague.

Those qualities extended to his personal motivations for conducting research. In a talk at a conference where most audience members were endometriosis patients, he said to them, “I am a scientist and a physician, and because I am a scientist that means I work for all of you. My job is to actually try to advance where medicine is these days.” 

Frequent Lecturer Around the World

A recipient of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Distinguished Researcher Award, Taylor was a frequent lecturer both nationally and internationally.

He joined the Jacobs School faculty in 2020 as an assistant dean and program director of the MD-PhD Program, for which he was a strong advocate.

A board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and reproductive endocrinologist,

Taylor served on executive committees of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the NIH Reproductive Scientist Development Program, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He was a past honorary secretary of the World Endometriosis Society and past president of the Society for Reproductive Investigation.

He had previously led the MD-PhD program at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where he also held the positions of professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and research director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

Prior to that he was professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Wake Forest School of Medicine and was also co-director of its Molecular Medicine and Translational Sciences Program.

He served as the Willaford Leach/Armand Hendee Chair and Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine, and as assistant, associate and professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.

Earned Medical, Doctoral Degrees From Baylor

He completed his residency in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology, both at the University of California, San Francisco. He also completed a research fellowship in molecular cardiovascular biology at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco.

Taylor received his undergraduate degree in biological sciences from Stanford University. He received his MD-PhD (Department of Cell Biology) from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

He is survived by his wife, Sarah L. Berga, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Jacobs School; his brother, Scott Taylor; sons Christopher (Sam Riley) and Patrick (Sarah Wintner); former spouse and mother of his children, Martha Miller Welch, MD; stepchildren, Alexis Sherman-Roe, MD (Allyson), and Nathaniel Sherman (Ellie), and their three children, Ella Scott, Isla and Walker; as well as many cousins in California and New York.