Senior Lecturer, Section of Reproduction, Department of Production Animal Studies
Assisted Reproductive Technologies for Rhinoceros Conservation in captive & wild-ranging populations
The project aims initially to increase our understanding of rhinoceros reproductive physiology and endocrinology including hormonal and ultrasonographic monitoring of pregnancy. As a critical first step we will concurrently investigate methods to enhance gamete survival during transport to the laboratory, thereafter optimize ART methods such as cryopreservation of semen, IVF and fertilization, maturation and embryo culture and finally vitrification for cryopreservation of oocytes and ultimately embryos.
Current projects within the subtheme:
Development of an optimal transport method from post-mortem or OPU-derived gametes to the laboratory in order to enhance gamete survival
Determination of the threshold interval for successful retrieval and transfer to the laboratory of post-mortem-derived oocytes and selection of a variable to define this outcome.
Defining a standardized oocyte-classification method.
Planned projects within the subtheme:
Investigating methods of oocyte retrieval
Optimizing methods of in vitro maturation (IVM) of rhino oocytes
Vitrification of rhino oocytes
Investigating different methods of fertilization of mature rhino oocytes, including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
Optimizing methods of in vitro culture of embryos
Vitrification of rhino embryos
Investigate the endocrinology of pregnancy in the rhinoceros, including progesterone and other appropriate steroid profiles during normal pregnancy and the potential presence of a pregnancy-specific hormone such as relaxin.
Developing assisted reproductive technologies for the conservation of the rhinoceros – MSc (Deadline 30 June 2019)