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Ana Kisovar

MD


DPhil Student

I am a medical doctor from Slovenia. After graduating from the Faculty of Medicine in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the University of Heidelberg (Germany) in 2019, I completed my clinical training and moved to Zurich (Switzerland) to work as a medical writer. I started my DPhil at the Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health in 2020. Under the supervision of Dr Jen Southcombe, Assoc. Prof. Ingrid Granne, and Assoc. Prof. Christian Becker, I am investigating the immunological background of endometriosis-associated subfertility. Additionally, I am a Medical Content Advisor to Luna (app for supporting young girls and non-binary people through puberty) and a member of the Expert Council and the Honourable Member of Endozavest (Slovenian endometriosis support group).

Endometriosis is a disabling disease affecting approximately 190 million people with uterus worldwide with a significant proportion of them being subfertile. It is proposed that a change to the immune system is one of the possible causes. For the successful implantation of an embryo into the endometrium, immunological adaptations are made, and certain inflammatory pathways must be carefully regulated. CD8+ T cells are one such type of cell that could hinder the establishment of pregnancy. Indeed, it has been clearly shown that in mice CD8+ T cells are effectively repelled from the site of embryo attachment. In my project, I am exploring if endometrial CD8+ T cells are altered in women with endometriosis, which could contribute to endometriosis-associated subfertility. 

Drawing on my clinical and research expertise as well as financial support from Die Lucas Knaffel'sche Privatstiftung, The City Municipality of Ljubljana, Rotary International, St. Catherine’s College and HIDI Internal Fund, I aim to unravel the rationale for novel treatment strategies for endometriosis-associated subfertility and identify women who would benefit from potential repurposing of immunomodulatory therapeutics. This could replace invasive and costly symptomatic interventions as well as give a meaningful improvement in quality of life and positive fertility outcomes for affected women.

 

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