Dr Antonio CAPALBO - G.E.N.E.R.A. Reproductive medicine Centre. ITALY
Dr Capalbo received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology from University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ and his Ph.D. magna cum laude in Human Genetics at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart of Rome in 2011. In 2011 he obtained II level Master Degree in Epidemiology and statistical data analysis at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart of Rome.
Since 2008 he has been working as clinical embryologist at GENERA Reproductive Medicine in Rome. Since then, his research has focused on preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening and on the development of novel molecular biology techniques to improve pregnancy and take-home baby rates in ART.
In 2011 he worked as research fellow at Reproductive Biology Associates, Atlanta, GA, USA and from 2012 he is collaborating as consultant embryologist at the Embryonic Stem Cell Laboratories, Assisted Conception Unit of Guy’s Hospital, KCL, London working on molecular figures of human blastocyst differentiation.
From 2012 he is genetic consultant and PGD/PGS program coordinator at GENERA Reproductive medicine centres.
Project: MicroRNA secretion profile analysis in blastocyst spent culture media
In the black box of embryo implantation during IVF cycles few improvements have been reported during last years. In the optimal condition, approximately half of the euploid good morphology blastocysts failed to implant. Thus, other than the presence of lethal chromosomal abnormalities, epigenetic and differentiation errors may be responsible of failures.
MicroRNAs are transcriptional / post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression with an essential role in early embryo development. Intra-cellularly, they act mainly through destabilization of mRNAs, although transcriptional and posttranscriptional mRNA repression has been delineated, as well as a role in de novo DNA methylation.
miRNAs are stable extracellularly in body fluids, including serum. They are secreted in membrane- bound exosomes or bound to stabilizing proteins, and can be taken up by recipient cells where they exert a gene regulatory effect. Their roles are increasingly recognized in cell-to-cell communication and are secreted from preimplantation embryos as a part of the blastocyst – endometrial dialogue for implantation.
Hypothesis: Profiling the miRNA repertoire in spent culture media will identify biomarkers for embryos with higher developmental potential.
The aims of the study are to:
The potential outcome of the present project is outstanding in the field of ART since no data have been ever reported about preimplantation embryo microRNA secretion profile. The final goal is to add a new and still completely unexplored level of knowledge that can be applied not only as a biomarker to increase embryo implantation but also to test biosafety of IVF-related procedures. This project has also strong a potential translational relevance since it has been designed for a quick application in the clinical practice of the results obtained from a basic science approach.