Course outline/synopsis: Description: International IVF Initiative(I3)- Online Session 106: Mind the [generation] gap. Tuesday, 15th Nov 2022, 3pm EST LIVE, 8pm UK, 9pm CET [ 91 mins]
This session focussed on showcasing the new demographic entering the ART work force, the digital native, Gen Z. As our workforce is ageing out, as recent studies and surveys have shown, this online webinar looked at the some of the research and interests of the newest recruits to our profession. It was hosted by veteran senior embryologist, lab manager and mentor, Dr Kimball Pomeroy and former embryologist and current educator Huey Huynh who has dedicated over 25 years as an adjunct instructor in anatomy and physiology for healthcare students. The session tackled some generational stereotypes issues, misconceptions of young scientists and showcased some interesting research projects that were underway by the next wave of reproductive biologists. The session including a talk by junior embryologist, Fran Farlie, on sustainability within IVF Clinics and highlighted ways that, not only the clinics, could be more ecological but also outlined steps that the profession could take to demand change. Radhika Kakulavarapu gave a fascinating talk about the opportunities that an embryologist can grasp if they choose to travel and described her PhD into AI evaluations at the morula stage mof human embryo development. Chloe He with “Adventures in 3D Time-lapse” explained the work currently underway to visualise time-lapse images in a different dimension and included a call to action to raise awareness of an initiative by the LGBTQ+ community ( Art X ART) to express experiences in family building and fertility care using art. In the round table discussion that followed which included questions about “Green IVF”, implementation of AI, 3D time-lapse and cell division patterns, the participants were joined by young panelists; PhD student Savannah Palmer and newly employed trainee embryologist Toyin Ojo. Aspects of career development and aspirations, recruitment and the changing role of the embryologist was discussed. Angela Regan, the Group HR Director for Care Fertility, was also a panelist and shed light on current hiring practices, teamwork and strategies to create an effective and inspired workforce.
Moderators: Dr. Kimball Pomeroy and Huey Huynh
Panelists: Savannah Palmer, Toyin Ojo and Angela Regan
Presenters: Fran Farlie “Reproduce, reuse, recycle – Green IVF®” Radhika Kakulavarapu “Moving like the morula: A millennial experience” Chloe He “Adventures in 3D Timelapse”
Panel discussion and Q and A.
Savannah is currently a research postgraduate student at Imperial College London within the Institute of Reproductive Biology. Her background has focused on embryology and microbiology, resulting in a fascinating PhD project that combines these two fields. Her goal is to carry out research to help elucidate the underlying mechanisms that determine IVF success rates and learn how the reproductive tract microbiome may influence the ability of the early embryo to develop and implant normally into the uterus. Savannah’s career ambitions and goals are to improve fertility success rates worldwide.
Toyin Ojo graduated from Abertay University with a BSc Honours in Biomedical Sciences. During her undergraduate degree Toyin developed a great interest in genetics, reproductive sciences and medicine. Upon the completion of her BSc, she went on to purse a postgraduate MSc in Human Clinic Embryology and Assisted Conception at the University of Dundee, Scotland. After successfully finishing her MSc, she was driven to becoming an embryologist, she joined the embryology team at Repromed Galway and is currently undertaking a traineeship. She enjoys working as trainee embryologist in the laboratory contributing and watching the very steps of life develop before her very eyes. Whilst interacting and caring for patients. No two days are the same and that’s what she loves the most.
Angela is the Group HR Director for Care Fertility, an expanding and leading IVF group which includes 15 clinics in the UK, with over 750 employees. Angela has over 20 years’ experience in Human Resources and has worked in the IVF sector for the majority of her HR career. Angela graduated in Law before completing a post-graduation qualification in Human Resources Management. Working in a sector which is highly competitive for attracting and retaining talent, Angela’s role is to continually develop and implement a People Strategy that considers and meets the needs of a talented workforce.
Fran is a trainee embryologist with Concept Fertility, where she started her career as a reproductive science practitioner back in 2020. She completed her BSc in Anatomy, Developmental and Human Biology at King’s College London where she was awarded the Hamilton Prize for highest graduating student, followed by her MSc in Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception at the University of Dundee.
While working in the clinical laboratory environment, Fran soon noticed the amount of waste and lack of environmental consideration in medical practice. Inspired by attending an I3 Webinar on Green IVF, Fran had a light-bulb moment and started to challenge the “it has to be that way because that is how it has always been” mindset and sought for more sustainable options. Fran was made the Green Ambassador of her clinic and set up the first Concept Fertility Green Committee. She has since presented at the ARCS Summer Symposium and been accepted to present at Fertility 2023 where she will continue to push for sustainable change in the ART field.
Following her Master of Clinical Embryology from Monash University, Radhika moved to Japan, where she embraced cultural and clinical differences that strengthened the basis of her training. Following this, she decided to explore the industry side of things by aiding the set-up a low-cost clinic in the Philippines. Currently, Radhika is pursuing her PhD in Norway, where she works within a larger interdisciplinary team that investigates the use of explainable AI within the IVF clinic.
Chloe is a second-year PhD student working between University College London and Apricity. Her research focuses on the development of computational techniques to visualise and assess three-dimensional cell arrangement in clinical embryos. Prior to starting her PhD, Chloe spent brief stints working in education, artificial intelligence safety research and maritime intelligence. She is currently chair of the AI Fertility Society ethics subcommittee and secretary of the Apimondia working group on the ‘standardisation of data on bees and beekeeping’.
DR. KIMBALL POMEROY
Dr. Pomeroy is the Chief Science Officer for Ivy Fertility in the US. He also oversees several IVF laboratories in the US. He has lectured at many scientific meetings and post-graduate courses and has co-authored papers dealing with Covid-19 and the IVF laboratory, best practices for nitrogen storage tanks, risks of cross-contamination of microbes during storage of tissue in liquid nitrogen, the usefulness of embryo morphology in predicting pregnancy and the source of microbial contamination during embryo culture.
Kimball O. Pomeroy received a Ph.D. in Animal Physiology at Colorado State University, and then was a post-doc at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. At the Salk Institute, Dr. Pomeroy worked with Dr. Glen Evans on the Human Genome Project (chromosome 11) and did work in the production of transgenic animals.
He was trained in Bristol, England as a human embryologist and has worked as a consultant for several projects in Mexico, Nepal, China, Bolivia, and the Bahamas. He has served as a member of the SART Executive Board, Chair of the Reproductive Laboratory Technician’s Group, Chair of the College of Reproductive Biology, and a founding member of both the Regulatory Task Force and the Southwest Embryologist Summit.
Recently, he has focused his studies on what happens when cryotanks fail and is investigating how oocytes regulate their pH.
Huey pursued his undergraduate and graduate work in Biological Sciences and Developmental Biology at Temple University. In addition, he earned a master of science degree at the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in health education. He received IVF training at Jones Institute of Reproductive Medicine, in Norfolk, VA and dedicated the next 10 years supervising the lab at Lehigh Valley Hospital IVF lab. In addition to his work in IVF, Huey has dedicated over 25 years in education as an adjunct instructor in anatomy and physiology for healthcare students at several local colleges in Pennsylvania. He has served on educational boards and as guest lecturer in IVF and physiology. In addition to his responsibilities as an embryologist Huey was an active participant in FDA clinical trials and ongoing research studies and served as a consultant to both colleagues throughout the country and to several biomedical companies. He is clinical IVF specialist with LifeAire systems