22 November 2016:
Failure to launch: aberrant cumulus gene expression during oocyte in vitro maturation
Hannah M Brown, Kylie R Dunning, Melanie Sutton-McDowall, Robert B Gilchrist,
Jeremy G Thompson and Darryl L Russell
In vitro maturation (IVM) offers significant benefits for human infertility treatment and animal breeding, but this potential is yet to be
fully realised due to reduced oocyte developmental competence in comparison with in vivo matured oocytes. Cumulus cells occupy
an essential position in determining oocyte developmental competence. Here we have examined the areas of deficient gene
expression, as determined within microarrays primarily from cumulus cells of mouse COCs, but also other species, between in vivo
matured and in vitro matured oocytes. By retrospectively analysing the literature, directed by focussing on downregulated genes, we
provide an insight as to why the in vitro cumulus cells fail to support full oocyte potential and dissect molecular pathways that have
important roles in oocyte competence. We conclude that the roles of epidermal growth factor signalling, the expanded extracellular
matrix, cumulus cell metabolism and the immune system are critical deficiencies in cumulus cells of IVM COCs.
18 November 2016:
Team ‘Life Whisperers’, composed of CNBP researchers from the University of Adelaide, Melanie McDowall and Jonathan Hall, together with their mentor Michelle Perugini have won first prize in both the Medical Innovations and Research Commercialisation categories of the ‘Australian eChallenge’ competition.
Run by the Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC) at the University of Adelaide, the eChallenge is a competition based learning experience that develops strategic business thinking for early-stage entrepreneurial ventures. Participants pitch their venture concepts to potential investors from the local business community. This year it attracted 152 teams across a number of categories.
The successful ‘Life Whisperers’ team proposed and pitched to judges, a new non-invasive diagnostic product to help improve embryo selection and ultimately improve positive IVF outcomes. In winning both categories, the team won $20,000 ($10,000 per category) with the money able to be used to help support future startup activity.
Below – Entrepreneur Steven Fang presents Jonathan and Mel with one of their winning cheques.
10 December 2015:
University of Adelaide and CNBP researchers Dr Sabrina Heng and Dr Melanie McDowall are recipients of the Barbara Kidman Women’s Fellowship for 2016.
The Fellowship supports female academics in enhancing and promoting their career, following time out of the workplace due to carer’s or family leave. The Fellowship is for 12 months and can be used for research support, overseas travel or professional development.
Both Sabrina and Mel were interviewed about the award, their science and their experiences in academia more generally on Radio Adelaide’s ‘Sound of Sciene’ program.
The full interview can be heard online here.
12 June 2015:
It just goes to show that collaborations work! CNBP researcher Mel McDowall has won the “International Award for Best Abstract (Australia/New Zealand)” at the Study of Reproduction (SSR) annual conference that will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico 18–22 of June. Based in the USA, SSR is one of the largest reproductive societies in the world.
The study, titled “Non-invasive detection of metabolic heterogeneity in cow embryos as a predictor of developmental competence” aimed at investigating patterns of different metabolism within embryos cultured in optimal or stressed conditions and stems from a collaboration between Ewa Goldys, Martin Gosnell and Ayad Anwer (Macquarie University); Andrew Abell and Malcolm Purdey (University of Adelaide) and Jeremy Thompson.
In the final experimental stages, this study is already making a big impact on the reproductive biology world!
01 May 2015 :
A recently published article by Mel Sutton-McDowall and collaborators (Jeremy Thompson, Malcolm Purdey, Ewa Goldys, Hannah Brown and Andrew Abell) has made the front cover of the Molecular Reproduction and Development Journal. The paper examined the influence of an oocyte specific growth factor BMP15 follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) on oocyte metabolism. The study was the result of CNBP cross nodal and transdisciplinary collaboration.
The cover can be found : http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mrd.22394/abstract;jsessionid=5318322C961EE49865D8E3C683A2E7EE.f01t01
and the paper is available here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mrd.22470/abstract