Claus Yding Andersen, Professor
Claus Yding Andersen has worked with reproductive biology and assisted reproduction since the early 1980’ties and was part of the team that started in vitro fertilization as a treatment in Denmark. He is now heading the laboratory and holds a MSc degree from the Danish Technical University and a DMSc degree from Copenhagen University. He has published more than 200 scientific papers, gives many internationals presentations and is an often requested teacher. He currently serves on several editorial and scientific boards.
Claus focuses on Development and function of human small antral follicles.
Understanding the hormonal regulation of human follicular growth, development and follicular selection in the natural menstrual cycle is the foundation for clinical management of a range of dysfunctions and for the development of new strategies for improving ovarian stimulation in connection with infertility treatment. Although the overall basic regulation of follicular development is well known many aspects of the hormonal regulation of human small antral follicles are still largely unknown. This is mainly due to the fact that such follicles are difficult to obtain for research purposes. However, in connection with cryopreservation of ovarian tissue for fertility preservation our laboratory has a unique opportunity to obtain both follicular fluid and granulosa cells to perform a number of research projects. Currently, we are evaluating the effects of specific FSH isoforms on the expression of LH receptors and inhibin-B by granulosa cells in culture. Another project focuses on detailed monitoring of the concentration of members of the TGF-β growth factors family in follicular fluid from normal human small antral follicles.
Marjo Westerdahl, Bioanalyst
Marjo Westerdahl is a bioanalyst who joined the Laboratory of Reproductive Biology in 2007. She graduated in Eindhoven, Holland, in 1982. From 1988 to 1995 she settled in Norway, where she worked at Section for Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Center of Biotechnology, and Nycomed Pharma. In 1995 she continued her career at the Finsen Laboratory, Rigshospitalet, Denmark, where she obtained extensive knowledge of sterile work, cell culture and biochemical analysis, including hormone assays.
At LRB Marjo has specialised in stem cell culture, ELISA and cryopreservation of ovarian tissue. She is also responsible for the training of new students in the laboratory.
Marianne Sguazzino, Bioanalyst
Marianne Sguazzino is a histo-/cyto bio-technician, who graduated from Hvidovre Hospital in 1995. After 17 years of employment at the pathology department at Roskilde Hospital, she joined the Laboratory of Reproductive Biology in February 2015. With 20 years of experience in histological processing and immunohistochemical analysis, Marianne is responsible for the histo-lab and stainings, but she is also part of the team performing ovarian tissue cryopreservation.
Stine Gry Kristensen, Postdoc
Stine Gry Kristensen is a Post.doc. at the Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, which she joined in March 2009. She graduated in Biology from the University of Copenhagen in 2009 with a Master in cell and developmental biology, and obtained her PhD degree in June 2013. Her present work focuses on human follicle development and the regulatory mechanisms underlying early folliculogenesis. The Danish cryopreservation programme for ovarian tissue at LRB provides a unique opportunity to work with human ovarian tissue.
In the first part of her PhD Stine has developed a method to isolate preantral human follicles from discarded medulla tissue, and this method enables her to study early follicular development and perform in vitro studies. Currently, Stine is developing a 3D culture system for preantral human follicles and investigating the effect of different gonadotropins and growth factors that possibly influence on follicle growth, survival and maturation in vitro.
Stine is also course-coordinator of
The Copenhagen Workshop on Cryopreservation of Ovarian Tissue and chair of
ReproYoung (association of young researcher in ReproUnion).
Susanne Elisabeth Pors, Postdoc
Susanne Pors, veterinarian and PhD, started in a three year postdoc position at LRB in January 2016. In her project she focus on the activation of ovarian dormant primordial follicles by treating the ovarian tissue in connection to transplantation. This approach is named “in vitro activation” and employs the possibility to promote follicle growth in the ovary. By using in vitro activation the dormant follicles will be mobilized in a high number, improving the chances for obtaining a fertilizable oocyte.
The increased numbers of maturing follicles will benefit women having only few oocytes present. The project aim to: identify and describe the mechanisms of in vitro activation and the impact on oocyte health and viability. Thereby validating and verifying this method as a future clinical treatment. The project is a part of the ReproUnion - a collaboration between Sweden and Denmark within the area of reproductive medicine, funded by EU Interreg V.
Lihua Dong, Postdoc
Lihua Dong started as a Postdoc at LRB in November 2016. He obtained a Master degree in microbiology from Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and PhD degree in molecular genetics from Leibniz institute on aging/ Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena. Now he is focusing on spermatogonial stem cells for helping to rescue male infertility.
Patients who need gonadotoxic chemotherapy or radiation to the gonads treatments can induce irreversible infertility. Sperm cryopreservation is an option to preserve their fertility for postpubertal adolescent and adult male patients before treatments. However, prepubertal boys have no sperms for cryopreservation. The main objective of my project is to develop new clinical methods for the maintenance of fertility in prepubertal boys with the risk of infertility due to malignant or non-malignant diseases. Spermatogonial stem cell (SCC) transplantation provides one of the most promising ways to rescue the infertility after treatments. We want to isolate and characterize SCCs from very small testicular biopsies from prepubertal boys, propagate SCCs to a large scale in vitro for transplantation, and verify the security of SCC transplantation to patients. Meanwhile, I will gain insight into molecular mechanisms of SCC self-renewal and differentiation, and aim to develop methods for the maturation of the SCCs to haploid germ cells in vitro for assisted reproduction.
Linn Salto Mamsen, Postdoc
Linn Salto Mamsen completed her master in Human Biology from the University of Copenhagen at the Laboratory of Reproductive Biology in 2010 and is currently working in a Ph.D. position.
Pregnant women in the Northern countries receive a lot of health recommendations. For the pregnant women, the new lifestyle guidelines can feel very overwhelming and it can be difficult to navigate in the does and don’ts. Linn’s work focuses on how the maternal lifestyle such as cigarette smoking and exposure to chemicals may affect the unborn child. She measure how toxicants from cigarette smoke and chemical compounds are transferred from mother to fetus and if the exposures may be challenging the fertility of the unborn child.
It is particularly difficult to find out which chemicals to avoid during pregnancy, since many of these are present almost everywhere in our daily lives and the known fetal effects of these are very limited. This is why Linn wants to find out to what extend potential harmful chemicals actually cross the placenta and reach the fetal circulation, this way we can be more concrete in the recommendations of pregnant women on which particular chemicals to avoid during pregnancy.
Linn is employed by the EU project ReproUnion until November 2018.
Jane Alrø Bøtkjær, PhD Student
Jane Alrø Bøtkjær is a PhD student with a Master of Science in Molecular Biomedicine. She focuses on the regulation of Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein-A and Insulin-like Growth Factor activity in human ovaries and their importance for a successful pregnancy.
The aim of Jane’s PhD project is to enhance the knowledge of mechanisms that are essential to female fertility. More specifically the project focuses on regulation of Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF) activity within female reproductive organs with special emphasis on Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein-A (PAPP-A). Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the PAPP-A gene that are associated with adverse pregnancy outcome are analyzed. Jane will evaluate how these genetic variations affect human ovarian follicular function, and thereby deduce whether genetic variations may or may not influence the female fertility. Evaluation of a possible association between these SNPs and recurrent pregnancy loss will be performed. Further, gene expression levels from isolated stage-specific human follicles will be studied with focus on genes related to the IGF system. Finally, in order to investigate the regulation of IGF signaling in detail an in vitro system using human immature granulosa cells will be established.
Lilja Harðardóttir, MSc student
Lilja Harðardóttir is a human biology MSc student at University of Copenhagen. She will study the molecular mechanism underlying activation of quiescent ovarian follicles. The mechanism, which involves the PI3K/AKT pathway, mTOR pathway and Hippo signaling is poorly understood as well as the interplay between these pathways but dysregulation of these pathways can result in primary ovarian insufficiency.
The objective of the project is to test the effects of various compounds that have been linked to above mentioned mechanisms on ovarian follicles and see whether they enhance activation of primordial follicles. Long term in vitro culturing of ovarian follicles has proven difficult, especially of primordial follicles. Therefore, part of the project is to optimize the in vitro culture using an alginate hydrogel 3D culture system. Analysis of the treated ovarian follicles or intact ovaries will be performed with growth measurements, immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry.
Improved in vitro culture of ovarian follicles, as well as better understanding of primordial follicle activation could be translated into a novel fertility treatment for pre-pubertal girls undergoing chemotherapy and women with primary ovarian insufficiency.
Junping Cheng, Guest researcher
Junping Cheng joined in the LRB as a guest researcher from August, 2017. She obtained a Master degree in animal reproduction from Guangxi-University of China in 2006 and PhD degree in human assisted reproduction from Guangxi -University of China in 2010. She now focuses on female fertility preservation, oocyte maturation and human follicle culture.
At present object, she aims to optimize the culture conditions for follicle as well as oocyte maturation in vitro, which isolated from human medulla tissue. Patients who need autotransplant ovary tissue for the treatments of infertility and hormone-deficiency have high risk to reintroduce malignancy cells. Oocyte and follicle maturation in vitro could increase the utility of ovary tissue and fertility preservation. Meanwhile, oocyte and follicle culture will benefit women with malignant metastasis and avoid the risk of reintroducing the malignant cells as much as possible.
Maja Ramløse, temporary contract - maternity leave
Maja Ramløse is a recently graduate veterinarian who started off at the LRB as a master student in 2017. Following her graduation she was hired on a temporary contract to fill in for a colleague on leave. Maja is currently involved in a PhD project focusing on follicular density and AMH correlation, as well as activation of dormant follicles in the ovarian reserve.
Besides these projects, Maja continues the research within the field of her master thesis project entitled “Bioengineering ovaries for fertility restoration”. The project aims at developing safe and feasible means of preserving fertility when receiving gonadotoxic treatment, as this is currently not possible to all patient groups. Recent studies indicate that a bioengineered ovary consisting of a decellularized matrix that has been reseeded with healthy ovarian cells can be a potential way of restoring fertility. The project is in the process of in vitro and in vivo research on the biocompatibility and biofunctionality of decellularized human ovarian tissue which has been recellularized with murine and human ovarian cells.
Dmitry Nikiforov is a PhD student from University of Teramo, Italy and an ESHRE/ReproUnion fellow in the Laboratory of Reproductive Biology. Dmitry has a three years of clinical experience in human embryology and now is working on a doctoral project about ovarian tissue cryopreservation and in-vitro oocyte production from the tissue.
At the Laboratory of Reproductive Biology he is focusing on isolation of follicles from medulla tissue discarded during cryopreservation of ovarian cortex for further in-vitro culture. Another point of interest is to evaluate an effect of additional substances to the cryopreservation medium, which may improve survival rate of the tissue as well as improve surviving after implantation of the tissue back to the patient.
Astrid Sten Andersen
Astrid Sten Andersen is a Molecular Biomedicine master student at the University of Copenhagen. She recently finished her bachelor thesis conducted at LRB on primary cilia in relation to development of the human embryonic heart.
She will study the endocrine regulation of normal human granulosa and especially theca cells from small and large antral follicles. The aim of her project is to establish and validate appropriate isolation and culture systems and assess the effect of gonadotropins and various growth factors on hormonal activity and transcriptional activity.