Capabilities of HEK293T-derived exosomes for mammalian sperm – Dr Teresa Vilanova, University of Oxford, UK 

This talk will help delegates to understand the role of extracellular vesicles in the context of fertilisation, and their capabilities to mediate and assist in the biological function of mammalian sperm.

Dr Teresa Vilanova joined the Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health in October 2017 to study for a DPhil under the guidance of Dr Kevin Coward. Her research focuses on utilising exosomes for non-invasive compound delivery into gametes. This novel tool has the potential to be used for reproductive purposes and thus treat fertility-associated problems.

Previously, Dr Vilanova has completed an MSc (Hons) in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction and Embryology (IVI Institute) and taken part in developing a programme for fertility preservation for prepubertal boys with cancer at Hospital La Fe (Institute of Sanitary Research, IIS La Fe, Valencia) led by Professor Antonio Pellicer and one of the founders of IVIRMA global.

The first language – Professor Alireza Fazeli, University of Sheffield, UK & University of Tartu, Estonia

New insights into placental-maternal-fetal communication vesicles and pregnancy health – Dr Yoel Sadovsky, University of Pittsburgh, USA 

This talk will enable delegates to:
• Recognise trophoblast-specific microRNAs and their expression and function.
• Assess mechanisms underlying exosome action.
• Define current understanding of extracellular vesicle-based maternal-fetal communication across the placental interface.

Dr Yoel Sadovsky received his MD degree from the Hebrew University, followed by OBGYN residency at Washington University and maternal-fetal medicine and postdoctoral research fellowships at UCSF. He then returned to Washington University and served as Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Ultrasound. In 2007, he assumed Directorship of Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr Sadovsky’s research integrates molecular and informatics tools to decipher placental development and trophoblast adaption to cellular damage, with a focus on trophoblastic microRNAs, which are packaged in extracellular vesicles and communicate genomic signals among the fetal, placental, and maternal compartments. Dr Sadovsky also interrogates trophoblastic lipid-mediated injury.

Dr Sadovsky has served on the Advisory Council for NICHD and March of Dimes, and the NICHD Board of Scientific Directors, and this year appointed to the NIH’s Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health. In 2016-17 he served as President of the Society for Reproductive Investigation. Dr. Sadovsky is an elected member of the US National Academy of Medicine (2013), the Association of American Physicians (2014), and fellow (ad eundem) of the Royal College of OBGYN (2016.) He was awarded the 2013 Cozzarelli Prize in Biomedical Science from the US National Academy of Sciences.