Gestational nutrition influences on ovarian development – Dr Peter Smith, AgResearch, New Zealand

This talk will cover:
• Awareness of some of the new concepts in fetal ovary development.
• Awareness of environmental factors which may affect ovarian development.
• How these two points interact (i.e. potential mechanisms).

Dr Peter Smith has 40 years’ experience working in reproductive biology in livestock species, mainly sheep. Initially focusing on ovarian morphology, follicle development, and the effect of fecundity genes such as Booroola and Inverdale. Over the latter half of his career the focus has been on fetal ovarian development, firstly the effect of fecundity genes and more recently the effects of maternal nutrition. Peter currently lives in Mosgiel, New Zealand (near Dunedin in the South Island), is married with three sons, enjoys tennis and his two Collies.

The changing follicular microenvironment during oocyte maturation – Professor Janet Pitman, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

This talk will cover:
• Measuring constituents in follicular fluid provides a snap-shot of the follicular microenvironment.
• The follicular microenvironment changes as the follicle matures.
• Mimicking the changing follicular microenvironment in an in vitro maturation system improves embryo quality.

Professor Janet Pitman has worked in the field of reproductive biology for over 20 years. Following a four-year post-doctoral fellowship position at the Human Reproductive Sciences Unit, Medical Research Council in Edinburgh, she returned to a scientist position at AgResearch Wallaceville, New Zealand. Janet then entered academia in 2009 at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her current research focus is ovarian biology, in particular, using information gained from understanding the changing ovarian follicular microenvironment in numerous mammalian species to improve outcomes in assisted reproductive technologies. The overall aim of her research is to provide better tools for accurate selection of healthy, high-quality embryos.

Adipokines are energy sensors involved in the ovarian reserve and ovarian functions – Dr Joëlle Dupont, INRAE, France

This talk will allow you to:
• Better understand the link between obesity or being overweight and infertility or subfertility in women at the ovarian level.
• Determine the molecular link between endocrine disruptors, fattening and infertility.
• Decipher the molecular mechanisms related to fat mobilisation during the peripartum and subfertility in high-producing dairy cows.
• Determine the molecular mechanisms related to fattening and disorganisation of ovarian follicular hierarchy in reproductive hens.

Dr Joëlle Dupont is Director of Research at the Physiology of Reproduction and Behaviours Unit at the National Institute of Agricultural Research in Nouzilly, France. She is interested in the key question of what the links are between metabolic and female reproductive functions. Her research field is currently focused on the role of adipose tissue in ovarian functions. To address this question, Joëlle uses a number of different in vivo and in vitro animal models (mainly human, bovine and hen primary granulosa-luteal culture models).