2023 Rising Stars in Reproductive Biology Webinar Series


From devices to diagnosis: Revolutionizing reproductive science using light
Kylie Dunning, PhD

Induction of functional germ cells from rat pluripotent stem cells
Toshihiro Kobayashi, PhD 

Register Now!


Dr. Kylie Dunning

Read Dr. Dunning’s Bio

Dr Kylie Dunning heads the Reproductive Success Group within the Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She has made seminal and internationally renowned contributions to reproductive biology that have advanced fundamental knowledge in oocyte maturation and preimplantation embryo development. Her transdisciplinary research uses microfabrication, biophotonics and imaging to better understand the mechanisms underpinning healthy oocyte and embryo development. Dr Dunning’s transdisciplinary expertise is best illustrated by her multi-faceted studies of embryo development and metabolism, in which she has uniquely capitalized on the use of advanced optical analyses to develop a non-invasive technology to diagnose both the presence and location of aneuploid cells within the developing embryo. In recognition of research excellence, she has received numerous prestigious awards including the Newcastle Emerging Leader Award 2019 (Society for Reproductive Biology, AU/NZ), the 2020 South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year and a 2022 Rising Star Award (Society for the Study of Reproduction, USA).

Read more about Dr. Dunning’s Presentation

Title: From devices to diagnosis: Revolutionizing reproductive science using light

One of the greatest challenges for IVF clinics is identifying which embryos are suitable for transfer back into the patient’s uterus. The current gold-standard involves taking a small number of cells from the embryo, then sequencing the DNA to confirm that the embryo has the predicted number of chromosomes. As well as being invasive, this procedure can be inaccurate. In her talk, Kylie will present new research from her group that overcomes the need for a biopsy and instead involves shining gentle doses of light upon an embryo and capturing the scattered light that comes back. This reveals the intricacies of its biochemistry and is able to detect whether an embryo has the expected number of chromosomes. She will also present research on a ground-breaking new micro-device which will streamline the only fertility treatment procedure available for men with low sperm counts, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). This new device, fabricated using 2-photon polymerization, is smaller than a pinhead in size and holds up to 10 oocytes in segregated positions for quicker injection. This makes it easier for embryologists to track injected vs non-injected oocytes, thus avoiding errors. By removing the need for the pipette that normally holds the unfertilized oocyte in position, this device both simplifies and halves the time required to perform ICSI.

Dr. Toshihiro Kobayashi, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo (IMSUT). 

Read Dr. Kobayashi’s Bio

Toshihiro Kobayashi is a project associate professor at The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo (IMSUT). He received Ph.D. from the The University of Tokyo, Japan in 2010 (Supervisor: Prof. Hiromitsu Nakauchi). He did postdoctoral training in Prof. Hiromitsu Nakauchi’s lab at IMUST (2010-2012), and Prof. Azim Surani lab at The Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge (2013-2017). In June 2017, he became an assistant professor at National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS), Japan. Since April 2021, he has led his own lab in the current position at IMSUT. He is also appointed as a concurrent associate professor at NIPS. His research focuses on use of early embryos and pluripotent stem cells from various mammals for understanding germline and organogenesis.

Read more about Dr. Kobayashi’s Presentation

Title: Induction of functional germ cells from rat pluripotent stem cells

In mammals, primordial germ cells (PGCs), the precursors of sperm and eggs, emerge from the pre-gastrulating epiblast. Studying PGC specification and development is important for understanding fundamentals of cell fate determination as well as mechanisms underlying disease and infertility. In my talk, I would like to present our recent progress in the induction of germline fate from rat pluripotent stem cells.


Position/Education: Dr. Librach is the founder and Director of the CReATe Fertility Centre and CReATe Cord Blood Bank (Toronto, Ontario). He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto, and holds cross-appointments with the Department of Physiology and Institute of Medical Sciences. He received his M.D. from the University of Toronto.

Clifford Librach, M.D.

Research: Dr. Librach’s research focuses on using stem cells from umbilical cord tissue for the treatment of spinal cord injury, heart attack, liver disease and study of aberrant gamete (reproductive cell) development, conducting clinical studies on methods such as assisted reproduction to improve treatment of female infertility, and developing testing to predict preeclampsia.

Learn More

Back to top