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Research description

Female fertility has been widely accepted as a finite window of opportunity, due to the limited and depleting source of ovarian follicles present during normal aging. Recent reports of putative oogonial stem cells (OSCs) have questioned this prevailing dogma and stimulated research and intervention efforts in the realm of fertility and reproductive medicine.

By studying these reported putative OSCs isolated from human ovarian tissue, we aim for a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of female fertility. By dissecting cell identity and function from the heterogeneous milieu comprising primary isolated ovarian tissue, we intend to elucidate whether the currently practiced OSC-based infertility treatment should be recommended or further scrutinized for efficacy.

Currently we are characterizing the diverse unknown stromal cell types found in human ovarian tissue, based on surface protein expression patterns and in vitro functionality. Efforts in exploring signaling pathways involved in ovarian follicle activation and death due to chemotherapy are taken to unravel cellular interactions and mechanisms in human ovarian tissue.

Taking everything into account, our work aims in gaining fundamental knowledge in the diverse cell types composing human ovarian tissue, better understanding their underlying mechanistic interactions, and realizing their true potential for applications in infertility treatment.

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