Update 1C: Frontiers in embryology

Untitled design

Automated ICSI: A dream or reality?

Dr Nuno Costa-Borges, Scientific Director, Embryotools, Spain

Nuno Costa-Borges is an embryologist that has been involved in both research and clinical practice for over 18 years. As a PhD fellow of the Portuguese national funding agency for science (FCT), Nuno spent several years developing strategies to improve the efficiency of animal cloning, having accomplished the first animals successfully cloned in Spain in 2009. After finishing his PhD at the University Autonomous of Barcelona, he joined the embryology team of IVI Barcelona, where he worked as a clinical embryologist. Later on, he co-founded Embryotools, where he has been devoted on offering QC tests, training and consulting services to the IVF community worldwide. Additionally, as scientific director of Embryotools, Nuno has also been committed to the development and optimization of IVF techniques, such as, the flicking method for the biopsy of blastocysts or the maternal spindle transfer technique. Nuno’s work has led to several peer-reviewed publications and he has been invited speaker in numerous international conferences and scientific meetings, as well as, awarded with prestigious prizes and grants. Stands out two recent awards, the PaperPrize of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in 2017 and the IVI foundation award in 2019. He produced the embryos that resulted in the first world’s children following maternal spindle transfer for the treatment of infertility associated to poor oocyte quality.

Determining embryo health with biophotonics: An interdisciplinary approach

Dr Kylie Dunning, Hospital Research Foundation Fellow, The Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Australia

Dr Kylie Dunning heads the Reproductive Success Group within the Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She has made seminal and internationally renowned contributions to reproductive biology that have advanced fundamental knowledge in ovarian follicle development, oocyte maturation and preimplantation embryo development. She is an emerging leader and trailblazer in transdisciplinary research, expanding her expertise to incorporate microfabrication, biophotonics, imaging platforms and artificial intelligence to better understand the mechanisms underpinning healthy oocyte and early embryo development. Dr Dunning’s transdisciplinary expertise is best illustrated by her multi-faceted studies of embryo development and metabolism, in which she has uniquely capitalised on the use of advanced optical analyses to develop a non-invasive technology to diagnose both the presence and location of aneuploid cells within the developing embryo. In recognition of research excellence, she has received numerous prestigious awards including the Newcastle Emerging Leader Award 2019 (Society for Reproductive Biology, AU/NZ), the 2020 South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year and a 2022 Rising Star Award (Society for the Study of Reproduction, USA).
Untitled design

Mechanisms of embryo failure at implantation

Dr Marta Shahbazi, Group Leader, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, UK

Marta Shahbazi has been a group leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology since 2020. Marta did her Ph.D. at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre. Then moved to the University of Cambridge for her post-doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz. During her post-doc, she established a method to culture human embryos beyond implantation, which was selected as the top breakthrough discovery of 2016 by popular vote in Science magazine. Using this culture method, she has explored mechanisms of cell fate specification and tissue morphogenesis during early development, and how these are altered when an abnormal number of chromosomes is present.