Students from the Reproductive Biology Laboratory (RBL) in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Pretoria (UP) received five of the seven awards in the national research category at the national conference of the Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG) that took place towards the end of 2015.
SASREG represents healthcare professionals in the fields of gynaecological endoscopy and reproductive medicine. The Society’s mission is to highlight the critical importance of female reproductive health in South Africa through the advancement of clinical care, training and research. The three-day national conference featured scientific laboratory sessions organised by the steering committee of the Human Embryology Special Interest Group (Prof Carin Huyser, Head of the RBL at UP and Dr Marie-Lena Windt from Tygerberg Hospital at the University of Stellenbosch) and contributions by guest speakers from Canada, Spain, Malaysia and South Africa. Nationally based technology development and research were highlighted on the final day of the conference by means of electronic posters and oral presentations by postgraduate students and interns who were competing for company-sponsored awards.
Ms Sindiswa Masilela (Tshwane University of Technology) and Mr Gerhard Boshoff (UP), both postgraduate students currently working at the RBL, were winners in the category for best abstract. Their abstracts, titled ‘Time-lapse embryo evaluation as a training tool: Day-three versus day-five selection for transfer' and 'How many sperm to inseminate with? Results from a pilot study’ were selected from 31 submitted abstracts.
The awards for best electronic poster in the doctorate and master’s categories were awarded to Dr Jozef Fourie, who recently completed his doctorate studies at the RBL, and Ms Chantel Gouveia, who is currently working towards a master’s degree at UP.
Dr Fourie collaborated with researchers from the USA and Sweden on his research project, titled ‘Treatment of human sperm with serine protease during density gradient centrifugation to reduce pathogenicity and to enhance fertilisation potential’, which relates to decontamination of HIV-1 seropositive semen.
Ms Gouveia’s project, titled ‘Experimental setup of somatic cell nuclear transfer: Procedural optimisation’, is done in collaboration with the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the Department of Immunology at UP. She also received the prize for best presentation in the master’s category.