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Tracey Edgell


Dr. Tracey Edgell - Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Clayton

Dr. Edgell completed her BSc(Hons) in Biochemistry with Pharmacology in 1990 from Southampton University (United Kingdom), and her PhD in 1999 from the University of Hertfordshire (United Kingdom). Shortly after completing her PhD she migrated to Australia and has gained fourteen years post-doctoral experience within the Australian Biotechnology Industry sector. This is combined with nine years post-graduate research experience the United Kingdom regulatory field researching cardiovascular disease at The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control. The diversity of her scientific workplace experience has allowed her to develop not only a thorough understanding of protein biomarker discovery and assay development, but also an awareness of patent and regulatory requirements essential to a successful commercial product. She has successfully developed diagnostic assays, both immunoassay and clinical chemistry formats and overseen their translation into commercially successful products.

In 2011, she entered the academic research setting under the mentorship of Professor Lois Salamonsen endeavouring to identify and develop biomarker targets of endometrial receptivity. In the past four years she has initiated a number of novel approaches to the existing theme of the laboratory aiming to bring biomarkers to the IVF clinic to improve success rates. The work has included an investigation of the endometrial proteome (GFI 2012), from which this current project proposal has evolved, and a multivariate cytokine assay (GFI2014) to predict the outcome of embryo transfer.

Project: Glycomarker Panel for Prediction of IVF Outcome

The endometrium is receptive for embryo attachment and implantation for only a few days during a woman’s cycle. Being able to test for endometrial receptivity within an IVF cycle would allow assessment of how treatment regimens may impact the endometrium, provide a more detailed diagnosis of infertility type, improve the personalised treatment options for women, and consequently improve success rates for assisted reproduction.

We previously identified that there are altered protein glycosylation patterns in women with primary idiopathic infertility, and that these changes may potentially indicate whether the endometrium achieves receptivity. To quantify these specific biomarkers we developed novel antibody-lectin assays. In a pilot study of uterine lavage collected from 20 women undergoing IVF treatment, at hCG+2 (ovum pick-up), the glycoforms of two proteins showed discrimination (p = 0.034 and 0.075 respectively) between women who became pregnant and those who did not.

Utility of these assays was however limited by background binding arising from cross-reaction of lectins with the mouse antibody IgG’s utilised in the assays. To overcome these issues we will develop and characterise DNA-aptamers (chemical antibodies) directed to our proteins of interest. These aptamers will replace the mouse IgG component of the assays.

The performance of the new aptamer-lectin assays will be fully characterised. The potential of the aptamer-lectin assays to determine IVF transfer outcome will be assessed in by application to cohorts of uterine lavage and serum collected from women at hCG+2 (oocyte harvest). The data will be analysed with respect to outcome of a same cycle embryo transfer.