Embryology: A Unique Part of the Jefferson-RMA Fellowship

G-bwp066The Jefferson-RMA Fellowship program is unique in the amount of time and hands-on experience provided to fellows in the ART embryology laboratory.

Towards the end of your first year and the beginning of your second you will have a total of five months dedicated to embryology under the direction of Dr. Richard T. Scott and Kathleen Upham. During the embryology rotation, you will learn all of the laboratory techniques and begin formulating a major research project. The hours for the embryology laboratory rotation will be from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and the fellows will be involved in every aspect of the embryology laboratory, getting H-bwp062hands-on experience with actual ART cases every day.

During your second year you will learn advanced laboratory techniques and get hands-on case experience in each skill set. The experience will enable you to gain a true understanding of the techniques and procedures performed in the embryology laboratory and allow you to work effectively with embryology teams in the future. It will also provide the background knowledge and technical skill sets which will empower more advanced basic and translational research projects.

B-bwp032According to Dr. Forman, “The embryology rotation was a true highlight of my fellowship experience. It gave me a unique perspective on the important role embryologists play in ART outcomes and was essential in helping me formulate research proposals.”

Our RMANJ embryology and molecular biology teams have developed a reliable method for “DNA fingerprinting” individual embryos.  This provides an important and powerful new tool for clinical and scientific investigation.  For example, one patient may have two embryos transferred and in the case of a singleton pregnancy, it is possible to know with certainty which embryo developed into the baby. That provides an ideal opportunity for a paired analysis – same stimulation, same cycle, same culture conditions, same transfer, same endometrium, and same hormonal milieu. It is possible to then evaluate the transcriptome or proteome to determine how the competent embryo differs from the embryo that failed to develop.  These paired analyses allow investigators to answer critical questions with smaller sample sizes and greater precision.

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