Dr Angelika Daser (Wiesbaden, Germany) studied medicine from 1982 to 1989 at the Medical School of the Free University in Berlin. She prepared a MD Thesis entitled “Monoclonal Antibodies against RNP- and Sm-Autoantigens” at the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics of Berlin. She then worked as a Postdoctoral Scientist at the Deutsche Rheumaforschungszentrum, Berlin on Antigen Presentation and Immunodeviation.
In 1996, Dr Angelika Daser won the Phoenix Pharmacy Award for her work on the rational design of non-natural peptides as high-affinity ligands for the HLA-B*2705 human leukocyte antigen.
From 1995 to 2001, she worked as a Postdoctoral Scientist at the Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry of the Humboldt University, Berlin on Cellular and Genetic mechanisms of Immunoregulation and - modulation.
Between 2002 and 2005 she studied Genomics and Genetics of solid tumours and participated in developing mouse models of leukaemias and solid tumours at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.
In 2006 and 2007, Dr Angelika Daser worked on Chromosome evolution as a Senior Scientist at the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Mainz.
Since November 2007, she has been working as a Senior Scientist at SH-Gen Research, Wiesbaden, Germany on the development of novel molecular biology techniques to improve pregnancy and take-home baby rates after ART.
Project: Direct counting of chromatids in polar bodies
Pregnancy and take home baby rates after assisted reproduction are notoriously low. The high frequency of chromosomally abnormal (i.e. aneuploid) oocytes is the major reason for the low success rate. Selection of euploid oocytes is thus an attractive strategy to increase the number of live births following IVF procedures. The ploidy status of oocytes can be indirectly investigated by analysing the chromosome content in polar bodies (PB) I and II. They are products of the first and second meiotic division and mirror the numbers of chromosomes in the originating oocytes. Analysis of polar bodies allows detection of oocytes with normal chromosome content without destroying the oocytes, thereby allowing the good oocytes to be used for implantation after in vitro fertilisation.
Although many attempts have been made to assess the chromosome content of PB I and II, all are associated with shortcomings. We have established a method which counts chromosomes directly - molecular copy number counting applied to a single cell (scMCC), in this case polar bodies. The principle is simple and based on limiting dilution of the chromosomal DNA to a concentration of less than one molecule of DNA per amplification (PCR) reaction and digital read out. The number of PCR products is counted and is indicative for the presence or absence of chromosomal material in the polar bodies thus indirectly counting the chromosomes numbers of the corresponding oocytes. Based on scMCC we are in the process of optimising this method to allow clinical usage in the near future.