Dr Aleona Swegen
Postdoctoral Research Assistant
I gained my Bachelor of Veterinary Science from the University of Sydney in 2010, and following several years’ work in clinical practice, obtained my PhD under Laureate Professor John Aitken at the PRC for Reproductive Science, University of Newcastle, Australia, focusing on the proteomics of stallion spermatozoa and equine embryos. As a postdoc in the same lab I continued to work on sperm metabolism and development of a novel ambient temperature sperm storage technique, as well as an endometrial organoid model for the study of embryo-maternal interactions in the horse.
In 2015 I completed an internship at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and National Zoo, Washington DC, working with Dr Pierre Comizzoli on feline endometrial culture systems.
I moved to Oxford in May 2019 to take on my second postdoctoral position as part of the Rhino Fertility Project led by Dr Suzannah Williams at NDWRH. This project aims to develop techniques to culture rhinoceros ovarian tissue and generate follicles and eggs in vitro, in order to establish a supply of competent oocytes and ultimately apply these strategies in a collaborative effort to rescue the Northern White Rhino from extinction.
I am passionate about using cutting edge, novel techniques in reproductive biology to benefit endangered species and livestock, and developing new approaches to preserve fertility.