Staff Spotlight: Nicolas Santiquet, PhD
Dr. Nicolas Santiquet joined the CHR's embryology and andrology laboratory in August 2016. While completing his PhD at University Laval in Quebec City, Canada, Dr. Santiquet focused on understanding the communication between the oocyte and cumulus cells that surround and support the egg. After earning his PhD, Dr. Santiquet moved to Colorado, where he worked on developing optimal in vitro maturation (IVM) media, which halts the development of eggs for a few hours before restarting the process so that the eggs have time to adapt to the in vitro environment.
"IVM that CHR investigators are pursuing is a little different from what I did in Colorado," says Dr. Santiquet. "In a pure IVM model, you just use FSH to help eggs develop, but you don't trigger ovulation with hCG before retrieving these eggs. You also don't remove the cumulus cells. At CHR, in a way, we are trying to rescue IVF patients' eggs that have been exposed to an hCG trigger and stripped of the supporting cumulus cells. Since they were triggered, these eggs should already have matured, but they didn't. So we are adapting the techniques of the 'regular' IVM to coax these eggs to mature outside the body so that we have more eggs to fertilize and more embryos to transfer--and that means more babies."
Dr. Santiquet hopes to apply his expertise in cellular communication and IVM to develop laboratory techniques that directly help patients with poor ovarian reserve. "There are a lot of big gaps in this area. If we can make a 10% difference in one of those gaps, it'll be huge," says Dr. Santiquet.
Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.
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