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Grant of Fertility Innovation

Fulvio Zullo

Professor Fulvio Zullo

 

Professor Fulvio Zullo obtained his Master’s Degree in Medical Science at the Università Federico II, Naples in 1984. In the same year, he also became certified in medical practice. Prof. Zullo obtained his specialization in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Il Facoltà di Medicina e Chirugia di Napoli (1998). He was then awarded a Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Reproductive Immunology Laboratory of Eastern Virgina Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, United States (1988). He achieved his Doctorate in Perinatal Medicine at Perugia University (1990). 

Prof. Zullo obtained his specialization in General Surgery at Il Facoltà di Medicina e Chirugia di Napoli (1994). From 1993, he began his collaboration with the University Magna Graecia of Catanzaro, Italy. He was awarded the title of Clinical Researcher at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Institute, University of Catanzaro. At the same time, he taught staff at the Obstetrics and Gynecology School, University of Catanzaro (May 1993 – January 1997. 

Prof. Zullo became Director of Diploma of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Univeristy of Catanzaro (from 1998 to date). He held the position of 2nd level Director of Divisione Universitaria di Ginecologia e Ostetricia, Azendia Ospedaliera Pugliese-Ciaccio in Catanzaro (2000–2005). Since 2005, he has been a full Professor of the University Magna Graecia of Catanzaro. He has performed more than 2500 operative laparoscopies and 3000 hysteroscopies. In the last 3 years, he has performed about 250 radical surgeries for gynecological malignancies (endometrium, cervix, ovary and vulva). He is the author of more than 250 scientifi c publications in the most important journals.

 

Project: Periostin as a new non-invasive parameter for evaluating oocyte/blastocyst

 

Periostin (POSTN), a secreted-protein belonging to the extracellular-matrix-proteinfamily, plays a pivotal role in regulating the embryo-endometrium cross-talk. Its expression is predictive of endometrial receptivity and pregnancy outcome in spontaneous cycles. The objectives of this project are as follows: to confirm in an adequately large population that POSTN concentration in individual follicular fluids (FFs), blastocyst-conditioned culture media (BCM) and in the serum of patients undergoing intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), is a reliable biomarker of blastocyst implantation potential; evaluate the role of human granulosa cells (hGCs) in determining POSTN concentration of the individual follicles; evaluate in human primary endometrial cell cultures, whether POSTN released by the human blastocyst is able to regulate endometrial epithelial cell POSTN gene expression at different P and hCG concentrations and enhance trophoblast implantation potential in a co-cultures cell model; evaluate POSTN levels in exosomes (EXs) collected at the time of blastocyst transfer with the aspiration of few microliters of uterine fluid and comparing POSTN EXs levels in pregnant and non-pregnant women. We previously performed an experimental study with prospective collection and evaluation of the following: 200 individual FF and serum samples from 50 female patients undergoing ICSI, and 50 BCMs derived from an equal number of transferred blastocysts. POSTN levels were significantly higher in women who became pregnant than in those who did not. We will perform an experimental study with prospective collection and evaluation of individual FF samples, BCM and serum samples collected from female patients aged 30–40yrs undergoing ICSI in a contest of SET-program. POSTN concentration will be determined by enzymelinked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and POSTN expression will be evaluated in hGCs and endometrial cells by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) analysis. Trophoblast-endometrial adhesion assay by using endometrial cells silenced and forced for POSTN expression will also be performed. Within two years we expect to enrol a total of 350 single-transferred blastocysts to achieve statistical signifi cance. To test and validate our endometrial model, we expect to evaluate endometrial biopsies and uterine fl uids from a total of 70 controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) cycles without embryo transfer (ET) and trial hormone replacement therapy (HRT) cycles. POSTN evaluation in individual FFs, BCM and uterine fluids, might represent a new non-invasive biomarker and supplemental tool to predict embryo quality. As a marker of embryo-endometrial cross-talk and embryo implantation, POSTN concentration may help to determine the optimal time for transfer after blastocyst cryopreservation in a minimallyinvasive, safer manner.