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Ca2+ oscillations and Egg Activation in Mammalian Eggs

Cardiff School of Biosciences

About the Project

At fertilization in mammalian eggs the sperm triggers a series of oscillations in the concentration of intracellular Ca2+. This project will examine the mechanism and role of these Ca2+ oscillations in stimulating embryo development. We have previously discovered that a sperm specific protein called phospholipase Czeta (PLCz) is the key molecule that triggers Ca2+ oscillations in eggs at fertilization. This project will examine how PLCz causes Ca2+ oscillations and the possible nature of other sperm derived factors that may promote Ca2+ release in eggs. With regards to role of the Ca2+ oscillations we are primarily interested in the way the sperm and Ca2+ stimulate mitochondrial activity. Most studies are on mouse eggs (oocytes) but some studies may also be on human eggs that have failed to fertilize in IVF. The techniques involved in the project are similar to those used in IVF clinics and include embryo culture, microinjection, and time lapse imaging. We also make extensive use of fluorescence probes and imaging to monitor intracellular Ca2+ and mitochondrial activity. Examples of publications from my laboratory where the first author is one of my previous PhD students. Sanders J, Ashley B, Moon A, Woolley T.E, and Swann K. (2018) PLCz induced Ca2+ oscillations in mouse eggs involve a positive feedback cycle of Ca2+ induced InsP3 formation from cytoplasmic PIP2. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 6: 36 Sanusi, R, Yu,Y., Nomikos,M., Lai F.A. and Swann K. (2015) Rescue of failed oocyte activation after ICSI in a mouse model of male factor infertility by recombinant phospholipase Czeta. Molecular Human Reproduction 21, 783-791

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity, students will be expected to source their own funding to cover all fees and living costs.


In order to be considered you must submit a formal application via Cardiff University’s online application service. (To access the application system, click the ’Visit Institution’ button on this advert).There is a box at the top right of the page labelled ‘Apply’.

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