OoCount: A Machine-Learning Based Approach to Mouse Ovarian Follicle Counting and Classification Share

Speaker: Jennifer McKey, PhD, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Description: The number and distribution of ovarian follicles in each growth stage provides a reliable readout of ovarian health and function. During this webinar, we will provide step-by-step instructions to apply and customize OoCount. OoCount is a high-throughput, open-source method for automatic oocyte segmentation and classification from fluorescent 3D images of whole mouse ovaries using a deep-learning convolutional neural network (CNN) based approach.

SSR 2024 Rising Stars #4

Speaker: Dr. Amanda Patterson, University of Missouri School of Medicine

Title: Towards understanding mesenchymal-epithelial transition in endometrial epithelial regeneration.

Description: Mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) is critical for fetal tissue and organ development and is exploited by pathologies such as cancer and fibrosis. The uterus uses this mechanism in adults under non-pathological conditions to regenerate the endometrial epithelium following parturition and in menstruation-like conditions in mice. During this webinar, I will discuss the advances made in understanding MET in normal physiological regeneration events to gain insight into its role in pathologies when dysregulated.

Speaker: Dr. Xiaoqiu (Churchill) Wang, North Carolina State University

Title: Decoding molecular mechanisms controlling uterine aging.

Description: Advanced maternal age (i.e., ≥35 years old) is associated with an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes such as infertility, preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, congenital heart disease and other fetal abnormalities. Much attention has been focused on ovarian function and oocyte quality (“the Seed”); but we provide evidence that defects in uterine decidualization (a process of uterine stroma cell proliferation and differentiation to accommodate implanting embryo; “the Soil”) could be a major cause of age-related reproductive decline in mice, which, in turn, interferes with the establishment of a functional feto-maternal exchange unit. In this talk, I will discuss our recent efforts on elucidating the mechanisms underlying reproductive aging in the uterus, particularly the convergence of the Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) signaling pathway and the hormonal endometrial response during endometrial decidualization.

Kisspeptin neurons and the circuits that control ovulation

In females, the mid-cycle surge in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion triggers ovulation. This neuroendocrine process is mediated by a population of neurons in the preoptic area that produce the neuropeptide kisspeptin and drive the activity of GnRH neurons for the surge. In female rodents, and possibly in other species, the preovulatory surge is timed to precede the onset of activity to ensure that ovulation coincides with sexual behavior. In this presentation, I will focus on the regulation of preoptic area kisspeptin neuron activity by the central circadian clock.

A Small Follicle Tells a Big Story

Dr. Shuo Xiao, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Rutgers University and a principal investigator in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) at Rutgers, will discuss his lab’s utilization of a unique 3D in-vitro ovarian follicle culture system that phenotypically and mechanistically recapitulates in-vivo ovarian functions. This exciting model serves as a powerful new tool to study ovarian biology, reproductive toxicology, and fertility preservation.

Deciphering The Ovarian Microenvironment Across Developmental, Spatial, And Temporal Axes

Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), or the early cessation of ovarian function, can be caused by a disease or by the iatrogenic effects of a chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Restoration of ovarian function through a tissue engineered transplant intends to restore fertility and ovarian hormones and alleviate co-morbidities of POI, such as those that affect the cardiovascular, brain and bone health. We will describe or ongoing research to decipher the ovarian microenvironment across developmental, spatial, and temporal axes. We aim to understand the role of biochemical and physical cues on folliculogenesis to better inform the ideal microenvironment and future regenerative therapies.

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