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Grant of Fertility Innovation

William Yeung & Ng Hung Yu Ernest

Professor William Yeung

 

William Yeung is a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, where he also obtained his Bacholors and PhD degrees. In 1985, he received his post-doctoral training in the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, and subsequently joined the University of Hong Kong as lecturer in 1989. Since then, he heads the reproduction laboratories of the Department. He is also the laboratory-in-charge of the Reproductive Medicine Centre at the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital and the University of Hong Kong-Family Planning Association Andrology Laboratory, and the Deputy Director of the of Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Fertility Regulation. Professor Yeung’s research focuses on fertilization, interaction of the sperm/embryos with the female reproductive tract and implantation. Part of the research has been published in Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Diabetes and Journal of Cell Science. Professor Yeung has published more than 250 articles in international refereed journals and has an h-index of 37. He is the ad-hoc reviewer of over 25 international journals including the top ranking journals in reproductive biology such as Human Reproduction, Fertility and Sterility, Biology of Reproduction.

 

 

Professor Ng Hung Yu Ernest

 

MaleProfessor Ng Hung Yu Ernest is Clinical Professor at Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, The University of Hong Kong. His main research interests are clinical trials in assisted reproduction technology, endometrial receptivity, assessment of ovarian reserve, the use of three-dimensional ultrasound, acupuncture in reproduction medicine, stem cells and psychological care in assisted reproduction. His experience has led to the publication of over 260 papers in refereed journals. 

Prof. Ernest also acts as an editor of European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology, PLOS ONE, Journal of Ovarian Research and Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. He is also a regular reviewer of many international journals.

 

Project: Human embryonic stem cell-derived trophoblastic spheroids (BAP-EB) as a predictive tool for endometrial receptivity and pregnancy rate of in vitro fertilization treatment

 

Implantation failure is an important limiting factor for the success of IVF treatment. Endometrial factor leads to infertility but there is no valid assessment tool for endometrial receptivity. The mechanism of implantation failure is still poorly understood and investigations are constrained by ethical concerns about using human embryos for research. We have recently established a human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived trophoblastic spheroids (BAP-EB) model. Compared with the conventionally used choriocarcinoma spheroids, BAPEB better mimics human blastocysts, possesses blastocoel-like cavity, expresses trophectoderm/trophoblast markers, and exhibits endometrial epithelial cells-specific binding. Transcriptome analyses also indicate similarity between BAP-EB and trophectoderm. Importantly, our pilot clinical study showed that BAP-EB only attaches onto “receptive” but not “pre-receptive” primary endometrial epithelial cells, indicating that the BAP-EB implantation model provides a novel functional assessment of endometrial receptivity. 

In this project, we propose to use BAP-EB as a diagnostic tool to predict IVF success and identify the implantation-related molecules on the surface of the endometrial epithelial cells. The feasibility of using surface molecules as biomarkers for endometrial receptivity will also be studied. The development of a reliable predictive tool of endometrial receptivity can improve infertility counseling. In addition, knowledge on endometrial receptivity enables individualization of the time of embryo transfer which in turn may increase the take-home baby rate in IVF treatment.