Maternal recognition of pregnancy in primates: Impact of endometriosis – Niraj Joshi, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University, USA

This talk will cover:
• Non-human primate model.
• Endometriosis associated infertility.
• Cellular and molecular events during early pregnancy.

Niraj Joshi’s research focuses on understanding the cellular processes and molecular mechanisms contributing to normal and abnormal uterine functions. He uses technical innovations and unique in vivo (2D & 3D Organoids), in vitro (rodents & non-human primates) and in silico model systems to address medicine’s grand challenges, with particular emphasis on female reproductive tract pathologies. He implements genomic and epigenomic approaches to identify the molecular/ signaling pathways and validate the key findings on human clinical samples for translational relevance. These findings could be used as biomarkers or therapeutic targets to treat gynecological diseases and improve female reproductive tract fitness.

How to build a primate: modelling embryogenesis in a dish – Dr Thorsten Boroviak, Principal Investigator, Sir Henry Dale Fellow, University of Cambridge, UK

This talk will cover:
• Spatial profiling of early postimplantation development in primates.
• Pluripotency is preserved in the anterior embryonic disc.
• NODAL signalling from the visceral endoderm safeguards embryonic lineage identity.
• BMP signalling from extraembryonic mesoderm and amnion itself drives amnion formation.

Thorsten Boroviak originates from Austria, where he studied Molecular Biology at the University of Vienna. After completion of his master’s thesis in 2007, he was awarded a PhD-fellowship from the Department of Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield to work on neuronal differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. Following his passion for pluripotency and embryonic development, he subsequently joined the laboratories of Prof. Austin Smith and Prof. Jennifer Nichols in 2010. His early postdoctoral research addressed the relationship of pluripotent embryonic stem cells to the early embryo. Thorsten provided transcriptional and functional evidence that the closest in vivo counterpart of mouse embryonic stem cells is the preimplantation epiblast. Moreover, he pioneered genome-wide comparison of mouse to non-human primate development by lineage-specific RNA-seq, which identified a primate specific role for WNT signalling during early lineage specification. In 2017, he was awarded the Sir Henry Dale Fellowship to start his laboratory at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. Thorsten is committee member of the Anne McLaren Trust Fund and fellow of Darwin College.

Miscarriage and later gestation – microfluidics and ECVs – Dr Karen Forbes, Associate Professor, University of Leeds, UK

Dr Karen Forbes is an Associate Professor within the Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine at the University of Leeds, where she leads a research group investigating the molecular mechanisms regulating placental and fetal development.