Oviduct-on-chip for in-vitro fertilization

Oviduct-on-chip for in-vitro fertilization

In-vitro fertilization has not seen any significant changes since its clinical introduction in the late 70s, and it still suffers from a really low rate of success (<30% clinical pregnancies). Especially, the main culture and embryo manipulation environment, which is a plastic-based Petri dish, is far from the in-vivo situation, where sperm selection and activation, oocyte fertilization and the first days of the embryo occur in the oviduct.

We propose here to further develop a first generation oviduct-on-a-chip platform dedicated to bovine oocyte fertilization and culture of the resulting embryos [1]. Supplementary steps have to be integrated into the platform, including sperm activation on a monolayer of oviduct epithelial cells and chemotaxis and mobility-based sperm selection.

The student will design and fabricate a second generation oviduct-on-a-chip platform. Thereafter, the culture capability of the platform will first be validated using cell lines, and bovine sperm cells. Further experiments using bovine oocytes, bovine embryos and bovine epithelial oviduct cells will be performed in collaboration with the Veterinary Center of the Utrecht University.

Techniques: microfluidic design, microfabrication, microfluidic manipulation, cell culture, tissue culture, cell analysis.


[1] Ferraz, M.A.M.M., Henning, H.H.W., Costa, P., Jos, M., Melchels, F.P.W., Wubbolts, R., Stout, T.A.E., Vos, P.L.A.M., Gadella, B.M., 2017. Improved bovine embryo production in an oviduct-on-a-chip system: Prevention of poly-spermic fertilization and parthenogenic activation. Lab on a Chip. https://doi.org/10.1039/C6LC01566B

prof.dr.ir. S. le Gac (Severine) PhD
Full Professor