The International IVF Initiative - i3

Session 55: Therio!

International IVF Initiative

Session 55: Therio!
Session 55: Therio!
Session 55: Therio!
Load image into Gallery viewer, Session 55: Therio!
Load image into Gallery viewer, Session 55: Therio!
Load image into Gallery viewer, Session 55: Therio!

Session 55: Therio!

Tuesday 16th March, 2021. 3PM EST/ 7PM GMT / 8PM CET / NOTE NEW TIME!

Professor Fulvio Gandolfi
Dr. Denny Sakkas


“Introduction to Theriogenology"
Professor Fulvio Gandolfi

“Reproductive aging – lessons from the wild’
Dr. Pierre Comizzoli

" Redefining Microfluidics"
Dr. Virginia Pensabene

"Can IVF benefit from Extracellular Vesicles"
Dr. Juliano Coelho da Silveira


Fulvio Gandolfi, DVM, is Professor of Veterinary Anatomy and Embryology at the University of Milan, Italy
In the ‘80s he developed in the sheep the first embryo co-culture system with oviduct cells that enabled the widespread diffusion of in vitro fertilization in domestic species. He then studied the molecular interactions between oviduct and embryos and characterised the oviduct-specific proteins that bind to the embryo. His research moved towards the molecular mechanisms of oocyte competence and described the role of polyadenylation of maternal mRNA, of the 3D distribution of the mitochondria during maturation and the way to increase oocyte competence through the fine manipulation of cAMP intracellular levels. He cloned the OCT4 gene in cattle and described how different its role was compared to the mouse. He worked extensively on pig embryonic stem cells and human parthenogenetic stem cells. He contributed to the development of the epigenetic reprogramming of somatic cells that can be differentiated towards any other cell types without any gene manipulation. Lately he expanded his interests outside reproduction and is leading a EU-funded research consortium that is developing an in vitro 3D platform that mimics the fish intestine. He has been the President of IETS, is the current President of ICAR and is the Editor in Chief of Theriogenology.


Pierre Comizzoli started his career more than 25 years ago as a research veterinarian South America and Africa. He then completed a PhD in 2000 on in vitro fertilization in bovine and deer species. In 2002, he joined the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, DC to develop new cryo-banking projects on gametes and gonadal tissues from rare and endangered species. This also includes the coordination of reproductive monitoring and artificial inseminations in different species (including giant pandas, clouded leopards, or Eld’s deer). He is leading since 2007 a Smithsonian-wide initiative to improve the management and use of frozen biomaterial collections within the Institution.


Virginia Pensabene is a University Academic Fellow at the University of Leeds, where she moved as European Marie Curie Fellow. She is sponsored by NC3Rs, MRC, and Research England, to develop innovative microfluidic system, micro and nanotools for IVF.

Pensabene studied Electronic Engineering and completed her PhD in Humanoid Technologies at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT).
As Postdoctoral Research Associate at IIT and then at Biomedical Engineering Department at Vanderbilt University (USA), she developed an organ-on-a-chip model of the blood brain barrier and carried out extensive work on the use of ultrathin film for suturing foetal membranes after foetal surgery. As Research Assistant Professor, she was sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Veterans Affairs Department, for developing microfluidic models of women reproductive system for toxicology studies.
Pensabene co-founded and was CEO of a successful high-tech, medical start-up, filed 4 patents and published more than 50 scientific articles.


Juliano Coelho da Silveira graduated in Biological Sciences at PUCRS-Brazil, has master’s degree in Genetics and Applied Toxicology from ULBRA-Brazil and PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Colorado State University-USA. His research focus is understanding the intercellular communication within the ovarian follicle, oviduct and uterine. The ultimate goals are to decode the roles of extracellular vesicles during folliculogenesis and early embryo development in order to understand female reproductive biology, develop new biomarkers and supplements to use in the in vitro production system. Additionally, he investigates the roles of miRNAs during folliculogenesis and early embryo development in order to find new biological pathways associated with oocyte quality and embryo viability.


Dr. Denny Sakkas received his undergraduate training at the University of Melbourne, Australia and received his Doctorate of Philosophy at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Sakkas has been the Laboratory Director of IVF units in Switzerland and England and has aided numerous groups in establishing their own IVF units around the world. He has extensive experience in clinical IVF and reproductive research. He is internationally recognized, having organized conferences and workshops on reproduction related topics, and is frequently invited as a speaker at major conferences worldwide. He has published more than 200 manuscripts and chapters in the field of fertilization, early embryo development and male infertility. He serves on the Editorial Board of leading journals and has been extensively funded in his career, He leads a productive research team investigating many aspects of basic and translational reproductive biology.

Dr Sakkas is Chief Scientific Officer at Boston IVF and consults to a number of clinics and startup companies in the area of IVF. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Previous and current positions include; Chief Scientific Officer at Molecular Biometrics Inc.; Associate Professor at the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine ; Director of Assisted Reproductive Treatment Laboratories of the Yale Fertility Center.  


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