Seminar Series in Biology to feature “Lessons from a dog…”

The Seminar Series in Biology will host “Lessons from a dog: understanding reproduction for the conservation of endangered canids” by Jennifer Nagashima, Smithsonian Institution on Friday, April 13 at 4 p.m. in Science 1, Room 121.

Dr. Nagashima is a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian institution where her current projects include development of an ovary-on-a-chip for the domestic dog and cat; semen cryopreservation in the Maned Wolf; sperm capacitation and cryopreservation in the red wolf; in vitro oocyte maturation in the domestic dog; and gamete rescue in Canidae.  Dr. Nagashima received her PhD from Cornell University in 2015 where she focused on “Folliculogenesis and Fertilization in the Domestic Dog: Applications to Biomedical Research, Medicine, and Conservation.”  She is the recipient of the National Zoological Park Emerging Scientist Award as well as the Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Postdoctoral Fellowship Award.

In this presentation, Dr. Perkins will discuss conservation of endangered canids.  Five of the 35 species of canids in the world are listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, including the critically endangered North American red wolf. In these species, techniques like sperm cryopreservation, artificial insemination, and in vitro fertilization become crucial to the movement of genetics among fragmented populations as well as ex situ insurance populations of animals. Using the domestic dog as a model for its endangered relatives, we are working on developing these assisted reproductive technologies in canids. I will discuss our recent success in the production of the first litter of puppies born by in vitro fertilization and embryo cryopreservation, as well as progress in developing an ‘artificial ovary’ for gamete rescue. Finally, I will introduce our newest work in translating the technologies we have developed in the domestic dog into on-the-ground conservation efforts for the critically endangered red wolf.

This series is offered several times throughout the semester to provide our student community with opportunities to learn about scientific research and professions. Speakers may include our own department faculty or students, as well as biologists and other professionals from elsewhere. All are welcome.