October 2014: Dr Nelida Rodriguez.
Dr Nelida Rodrigues has been visiting the Adelaide Node of the CNBP since Feb 2014 working on a 1-year project : Cattle oocyte in vitro maturation using cAMP modulators; Effect on development and embryo epigenetic markers working with CNBP Chief Investigator Prof Jeremy Thompson and the Spark of Life Team
Dr Rodriguez-Osorio will primarily study the interaction between different in vitro maturation systems, during cattle oocyte maturation and determine the influences of these systems on oocyte health and subsequent embryo development. This will include techniques such as gene expression analyses via real time PCR, protein expression (western blot, immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy), metabolism (carbohydrate and carboxylic acid metabolism, REDOX state, glutathione levels (reduced and oxidised), mitochondrial activity) and importantly, DNA methylation of selected genes in embryos produced from these systems.
Dr Rodriguez-Osorio will contribute her molecular skills, especially in the area of measuring gene expression and methylation of genes from the different combinations of treatments. We are particularly interested in the impact of a cAMP pulse during a prematuration period within the cumulus oocyte complex, and how this interacts with maturation under differing concentrations of FSH (low, 10 mIU and high, 100 mIU) and conducted with the addition of pro-mature complexes of GDF9 and BMP15 during this stage as well. We believe we will observe synergism in some treatments to enhance oocyte competence. Gene expression analysis will be performed using a candidate gene expression screen, measuring up to 8 genes selected from the literature. Importantly, she will measure the methylation pattern of several known imprinted and non-imprinted genes in subsequent embryos, to determine if method of oocyte maturation which alters developmental competence also alters blastocyst stage methylation. In return, we will provide access and demonstrate the metabolic assays we use for determining metabolic changes in COCs and embryos as measures of oocyte and embryo viability.