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Non-Invasive Endometrial Receptivity Biomarkers

Project Description

Infertility is a substantial problem affecting couples worldwide. The scars inflicted on couples as a result of not being able to conceive affects their general health, mental well-being and even raising social issues particularly in the old age. This is a worldwide problem that is growing and currently affects 1 in 6 couples, who consequently rely on the use of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). The efficiency of ART is very low, resulting in high financial costs for treatment and creating substantial economic burdens for patients and their families. The main bottleneck of the current ARTs is the rate of the embryo implantation failure, which is around 70%. The success or failure of implantation may depend on the embryo’s own ability to implant, the receptivity of the uterus to accept the embryo, or a combination of both.

Fazeli Lab and SPD are interested in developing a non-invasive genomic-based panel of urinary biomarkers for assessing endometrial receptivity potential of mothers to implanting embryo. This studentship is aimed at developing the proof of concept for this idea and is based on research conducted over several years in Fazeli Lab regarding maternal communication with embryo and extracellular vesicles (EVs) (Es-Haghi, M., Godakumara, K., Häling, A. et al. Cell Commun Signal (2019) 17: 146. and investigations carried out at SPD regarding urine-based conception diagnostic devices for pregnancy detection.

Our laboratory is well experienced in different in vitro 3-dimensional culture system models of human implantation, Extracellular Vesicle (EV) research, RNA metabolic labeling and next generation sequencing. We provide a first class training environment for our students. In addition the Sheffield post-Graduate school provides our PhD students with training in many different transferable skills. Our industrial partner (SPD Development Company Limited) in this research project is a leader of development of pregnancy diagnostic technologies. Hence, the project will provide an excellent environment for the prospect PhD student in both academic and industrial training aspects.

During the project, the student will have the opportunity of working in both academic and industrial settings in Sheffield and Bedford. S/He will have both an academic and industrial based supervisor to guide her/him during the PhD process. Both Sheffield and Bedford labs are well equipped and prepared for this project and will provide an excellent environment for the prospect PhD student in both academic and industrial training aspects.

Funding Notes

This PhD studentship is co-funded by the University of Sheffield and SPD Development Company. The project is open to Home/EU students. This studentship covers the Home fee plus stipend to cover living costs at UKRI rate.

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience.

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