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PROJECT TITLE

 Extracellular Vesicle communication pathways in the female reproductive tract

SUPERVISORS

Rebecca Dragovic

Jennifer Southcombe

 

DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nano-sized membrane bound structures derived from all cells in the human body. They function as intracellular communicators, delivering proteins and nucleic acid to target cells. Our research has shown that EVs derived from both the male and female reproductive tract can influence female receptivity to pregnancy. Through collaborations with assisted reproductive technology (ART) and early pregnancy clinics, we have access to human tissues that can be used in this research, such as endometrium, follicular fluids, seminal fluids, embryo supernatants, etc. Specific projects could investigate the EV signals being released from a receptive endometrium and non-receptive endometrium, if embryo supernatants contain EV that can influence implantation potential, or if paternal seminal fluid factors modulate female receptivity. 

We are currently developing an endometrial organoid cellular model to study human endometrial : EVs interactions. We would particularly invite applications from candidates who have an interest in human implantation models, and a desire to improve patient outcomes undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). 

 

TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

You will be training in a wide variety of laboratory techniques: specific EV analysis techniques such as Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) are available.  In addition, we routinely perform tissue culture, western blotting, IHC including fluorescence and confocal microscopy, PCR and RT-PCR, sequencing transcriptome analysis, ELISA, and flow cytometry (3-laser 14 parameter).

There will be opportunities to present work within the department, and at national & international conferences. Students are encouraged to prepare and submit manuscripts.

As well as the specific training detailed above, students will have access to a wide-range of seminars and training opportunities within the University of Oxford network.

Funding

 The position is not currently funded and therefore the candidate will need to secure funding