SSR 2024 Rising Stars #1

Speaker: Dr. Katy Patras, Baylor College of Medicine, USA

Title: Gestational diabetes disrupts maternal immunity and the vaginal microbiota to promote bacterial infection.

Description: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a pervasive perinatal pathogen, and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) increases the risk of GBS perinatal disease although the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Using a novel murine GDM model of GBS colonization, we found that GDM mice had greater GBS dissemination and worse neonatal outcomes. GDM altered host responses, including reduced uterine natural killer cell activation and recruitment, and distinct vaginal microbial taxa were associated with GDM status and GBS invasive disease status. Our translational model of GBS perinatal transmission in GDM hosts recapitulates several clinical aspects and enables discovery of host and bacterial drivers of GBS perinatal disease.

Speaker: Dr. Daniel Mathew, University of Tennessee, USA

Title: The In Vitro Produced Conceptus: What the Endometrium Can Tell Us

Description: The early conceptus creates a microenvironment with the surrounding endometrium, supporting pre-implantation development. During this webinar I’ll discuss how the in vitro produced cow conceptus impacts the endometrial transcriptome and surrounding proteome compared to the in vivo derived conceptus and how that may influence establishment of pregnancy.

Placental strategies supporting fetal growth during normal and suboptimal gestational environments

The placenta is essential for mammalian development and a key determinant of life-long offspring health. It is responsible for transporting all the nutrients and oxygen a fetus needs to develop and grow and secretes hormones that adapt maternal physiology to support the pregnancy. However, the placenta is not a static organ. In this talk I will present our work undertaken in experimental models showing that placental formation and function adapts developmentally to the needs of the growing fetus during normal gestation, as well as in response to suboptimal gestational environments, namely obesity and hypoxia. Impairments in placental formation and function have consequences for fetal growth and birthweight, which in turn, dictate perinatal survival and risk of non-communicable diseases in later postnatal life. Thus, identifying how the placenta responds and adapts to developmental and environmental cues may be informative for the design of strategies to optimise pregnancy and long-term health outcomes.

Opportunities for Innovation in microTESE Negative Males With Non-Obstructive Azoospermia

This talk will discuss the opportunities for innovation in microTESE negative non-obstructive azoospermic males. We will discuss opportunities for applying image-based machine learning for sperm identification following microTESE. We will also discuss a personalized and precision medicine framework aiming to overcome cellular dysfunction and promote regeneration of spermatogenesis using single cell sequencing, development of novel culture methods, use of human induced pluripotent stem cells and 3D bioprinting.

Storing Sugar in the Uterus: Glycogen Metabolism during Early Pregnancy

The endometrium needs to regulate glucose availability precisely; too much or too little impairs decidualization and embryo development. We have shown that the epithelium and decidua store distinct pools of glucose as glycogen during early pregnancy. Thus, glycogen may represent a vital way to buffer glucose concentrations before and during implantation.

Sex-differences in immune aging: are we missing half of the picture?

Neutrophils are the most abundant human white blood cell and constitute a first line of defense in the innate immune response. Neutrophils are short-lived cells, and thus the impact of organismal aging on neutrophil biology, especially as a function of biological sex, remains poorly understood. We have generated a multi-omic resource of mouse primary bone marrow neutrophil from young and old female and male mice, at the transcriptomic, metabolomic and lipidomic levels. We identified widespread regulation of neutrophil ‘omics’ landscapes with organismal aging and biological sex. In addition, we leveraged this data to predict functional differences, including changes in neutrophil responses to activation signals. To date, this dataset represents the largest multi-omics resource for neutrophils across sex and ages. This resource identifies neutrophil characteristics which could be targeted to improve immune responses as a function of sex and/or age.

New Non-hormonal Contraceptive Targets

These webinars, sponsored by the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR), Frontiers in Reproduction (FIR), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will focus on emerging technologies and approaches to male and female contraception.

Speakers:

Dr. Lonny R. Levin, Professor of Pharmacology, Weill Cornell Medical College

Read more about Dr. Levin’s Presentation

Title: On-demand nonhormonal male contraception via ADCY10 inhibition

Description: Fast-acting sAC inhibitors with slow off-rates can provide safe, pre-coital, on-demand contraception for men which is nonhormonal, orally available, easily tolerated, fast-acting, and readily reversible.

Dr. Celia Santi, Associate Professor of OBGYN, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Read more about Dr. Santi’s presentation!

Title: Targeting the sperm-specific K+ channel SLO3 for non-hormonal contraception.


Description: Identification of inhibitors of the sperm specific SLO3 K+ channel that can be developed into a non-hormonal class of female contraceptives that act by targeting sperm capacitation.

Developing New Methods for Testing, Studying, and Delivering Contraception

These webinars, sponsored by the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR), Frontiers in Reproduction (FIR), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will focus on emerging technologies and approaches to male and female contraception.

Speakers:

Dr. Jianjun Sun, Associate Professor, Department of Physiology & Neurobiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs

Read more about Dr. Sun’s Presentation

Title: Screening female contraceptive compounds using Drosophila ovulation model

Description: In my presentation, I will introduce the ovulation mechanism in Drosophila and describe the platform utilizing Drosophila ovulation to screen contraceptive compounds that can effectively inhibit follicle rupture.

Dr. Phil Santangelo, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Tech University & Emory University

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Read more about Dr. Santangelo’s Presentation

Title: Intravaginal delivery of mRNA encoded contraceptive antibodies

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