Piezo drill assisted ICSI: advantages in mice and horses and potential application in human
Assisted reproductive techniques have resulted in over six million babies born worldwide and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is one of the most commonly used techniques. In mice and horses, ICSI is applied both for research and/or clinical purposes. While conventional ICSI with a sharp needle is the standard in human, the use of a piezo electric crystal to produce a drilling effect is advantageous in mice to break the fragile oolemma, and in the horse, the piezo has been associated with advanced oocyte activation and better embryo quality compared to conventional ICSI. Furthermore, replacement of toxic mercury during piezo ICSI by a safe fluorocarbon opens the way for potential application in human.
About dr. Katrien Smits
Katrien Smits graduated as a veterinarian in 2006. She started a PhD at the department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health of the Faculty of Veterinary medicine in Ghent on the in vitro production of equine embryos by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This resulted in the first ICSI-foal in the Benelux and Katrien defended her PhD in 2010. She is currently employed at Ghent University as a postdoctoral researcher of the Research Foundation Flanders to continue her work on assisted reproduction in the horse. Her research focuses on the embryo-maternal interaction during early pregnancy, ICSI, embryo culture, genetics and oocyte/embryo vitrification in the horse.