Professor Darren K Griffin 

BSc, PhD, DSc, PGCHE, CBiol, FRSA, FRSB, FRCPath

About Darren

Darren has had a diverse career in academia, completing his BSc and DSc at the University of Manchester, his PhD at University College London, postdoctoral positions at University College London, Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland Ohio) and the University of Cambridge, an academic post at Brunel University and a part time teaching post at the Roehampton Institute.  He has worked under the mentorship of Professors Joy Delhanty, Christine Harrison, Terry Hassold, Alan Handyside and Malcolm Ferguson-Smith. He joined the University of Kent in 2004, becoming Professor of Genetics in 2007.

 

Darren is President of the International Chromosome and Genome Society, a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce. He has been a BBSRC Career Development Fellow. He sits on the faculty of CoGen (controversies in genetics) and has previously sat on the board of the Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis International Society (PGDIS), organising its annual meeting in 2014. He is on the Editorial Board of the Journals Genes, Cells and the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics; he is Editor in Chief of the journal DNA.

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MEET THE LAB

Our lab prides itself on having an inclusive and friendly work environment where all of the team feel empowered to be inquisitive and share their ideas and thoughts. 

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Eleanor Watson

My name is Ellie Watson and I research male infertility, focusing specifically on the genetic links to infertility, and morphological associations of sperm nuclei with male infertility. I am currently studying at the University of Essex, under the supervision of Dr Ben Skinner - one of Darren's former PhD students. In my spare time I am a (full time) mum to my 6 guinea pigs, and I also host the Genomics Lab podcast with Livy, my best friend and colleague.

Email: e.watson@essex.ac.uk

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Olivia Grant

My name is Livy Grant, I am a second year PhD student at University of Essex and visiting student at QMUL. I study epigenetics and air pollution, and am part of Darren's team working on some outreach with him. In my spare time, I love hosting my podcast 'the Genomics Lab' with Ellie, as well as long walks with my twin and her dog Ginnie.

Email: olivia.grant@essex.ac.uk

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Carla Canedo Ribeiro

My name is Carla Canedo Ribeiro. I started my university education in my BSc in Genetics and Biotechnology at University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro in Portugal. I did my MSc at the same university in Biotechnology for Health Sciences, where I had the opportunity to come to Professor Darren’s lab, under an Erasmus scholarship, to do the research year of my masters. I am currently, a PhD Student in Genetics, supervised by Prof. Darren Griffin, with the aim to investigate more about IVF/IVP and chromosomal abnormalities through PGT in cattle and pig, as well find a cost-effective way to detect RT translocations in pigs with NGS. 

In my free time, I am always seeking to learn anything new or to improve my skills, like coding and languages. Also, love to spend time with people I care about and just enjoy life. 

Email: cfcr2@kent.ac.uk

Giuseppe Silvestri

My name is Dr Giuseppe Silvestri and I graduated in Molecular Biology (BSc Hons) from the University of Naples Federico II, Italy. Following this, I moved to the UK where I was awarded an MSc in Reproductive Medicine and then a PhD in Genetics, both from the University of Kent. Currently, I am working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the laboratory of Prof Darren Griffin on a BBSRC funded project aiming at improving the technologies available for IVF embryo production and genetic testing in mammals. 

A key aim of my work is the development of methods to obtain high-quality embryos following in vitro maturation (IVM) of oocytes recovered from young (prepubertal) donors. I am also investigating the benefits of preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) applied to farm animal embryo production systems, where the selection of the most desirable embryos and the removal of those affected by chromosomal disorders before transfer can translate into higher breeding efficiencies.

I have a keen interest in teaching, and I am an associate fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I have extensive experience in supervising students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and I am involved in the delivery of the MSc Reproductive Medicine: Science and Ethics at Kent. I am also designing and developing online teaching contents on IVF and PGT for both the University of Kent and The IVF Company. 

Email: G.Silvestri@kent.ac.uk

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Michael N Romanov

My name is Mike Romankov. I completed my tertiary education and PhD (Candidate of Biological Sciences) in Ukraine. Since then, I have been participating in research projects in the field of avian genetics and genomics moving back and forth between the USA, UK, Germany, Russia and Ukraine. during the 2010s, I was involved in a research project in the Dr Darren Griffin’s lab supported by a BBSRC grant. The main focus of that project was to produce comparative cytogenetic maps in multiple bird species. This benefited from both lab work and bioinformatic support for the proposed avian molecular cytogenetics studies. In the course of this project, the following pivotal hypotheses were tackled and proved to understand genome evolution in birds and other vertebrates: (1) homologous synteny blocks (HSBs) are distributed in birds in a non-random fashion, (2) specific gene ontology signatures can be observed within HSBs and evolutionary breakpoint regions (EBRs), (3) unlike mammals, EBRs represent recombination hotspots in birds, and (4) transposable elements are more frequent in EBRs. Additionally, I helped reconstruct karyotypes of hypothetical avian ancestors and even dinosaurs. While continuing reconstruction and other bioinformatic job on request, my current studies, in collaboration with Russian research labs, are focused on: (1) development of the methodology of genomic selection in chickens for the conservation and effective use of the potential of genetic resources, and creation of highly productive strains; and (2) development of state-of-the-art biotechnologies to assess gene expression in relation to performance and disease resistance in the poultry industry. Another major field of my recent research effort is development of non-destructive technologies and mathematical methods for assessing egg quality.

m.romanov@kent.ac.uk 

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Dr Blair McCallie

My name is Dr. Blair McCallie.  I graduated from the University of Kent with a PhD in genetics.  I am currently a research scientist studying genomics in the field of reproduction and run the inherited cancer laboratory for the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine.  In my free time, I enjoy all things outdoors, specifically spending time in the beautiful Rocky Mountains!

BMcCallie@ColoCRM.com

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Alejandro Chavez-Badiola, MD

My name is Dr. Alejandro, I am an innovator and a fertility expert with over 12-years experience as Founder, and Medical Director of two successful IVF clinics in Mexico.  

 

As a self-motivated professional, I've been successful in seizing viable opportunities for innovation, and I am committed to contributing towards the transformation of Reproductive Medicine.   In 2018, I founded IVF 2.0 LTD with a focus on developing AI solutions for Reproductive Medicine. I am experienced in leading and supervising national, and international teams, amongst which I have led the Mexican team achieving the first baby ever to be born following a successful spindle nuclear transfer. I am current Chief Medical and Scientific Director at New Hope Fertility Mexico, a position that offers me a privileged first row seat to identify the opportunities of improvement in the IVF sector, and to test the impact these solutions could have in efficiency, improved outcomes, and accessibility of care. 

 

As a PhD student in Reproductive Genetics at the University of Kent, and CEO at IVF 2.0, I mainly focus on identifying revolutionary ideas and leading teams capable of delivering the most innovative and promising solutions for the future of reproductive medicine and genetics. 

 

“As clinicians in the field of reproductive medicine, we have a huge impact on a limited number of patients and their lives.  Through innovation and we can aspire to positively impact on the life of millions” 

drchavez-badiola@nhfc.mx

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Shadi Khalil

My name is Shadi Khalil. I received my Bachelor of Pharmacy from Al-Ahliyya Amman University, Kingdom of Jordan and my Master of Medical Science MSc in Assisted Reproduction Technology, Academic Division of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, school of Human Development from The University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. I received my Diploma in Clinical Embryology from The Royal College of Pathologist, United Kingdom. I am currently a Ph.D. student in Reproductive Genetics at the Univeristy of Kent, UK.
I am a British clinical scientist registered with the Health Professional Council (HPC)- from the United Kingdom, as well as an ICSI & Genetic Biopsy practitioner licensed from the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) from the United Kingdom.
Working at the ARGC (The UK&Europe highest success IVF clinic) with Mr Mohamed Taranissi, gained me skills and expertise in dealing with complex fertility problems, including those with specific difficulties such as having recurrent implantation failure, monitoring patients with knowledge of immunology of implantation, keeping one step ahead, pioneering screening embryos for inherited/chromosomal diseases using the latest technology in the United Kingdom.
Achieving Diploma degree in Clinical Embryology from the British Royal college of Pathologist (DipRCPath) added to my scientific knowledge, skills and expertise at the highest professional level over the full range of Embryology and Genetics procedures in the provision of a high quality assisted conception service to patients. And as ICSI and Genetic Biopsy practitioner, I have performed over 5000 ICSI procedures.
I also have a keen interest in teaching as a university lecturer, and participated in the University of Kent IVF summer school by giving lectures for IVF students about clinical embryology.

shadi@theivfcompany.com

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Jemma Garratt

My name is Jemma Garratt, I graduated from University of Exeter with a BSc in Medical Sciences and from University of Oxford with an MSc in Clinical Embryology. I am currently doing a part-time PhD in Genetics exploring the use of Pre-implantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A) and endometrial assessment techniques to improve IVF outcomes. I am based at London Women’s Clinic.

When I am not buried in data, I like to run, eat lots of food and watch the best football team in the world (West Ham). I’m also attempting to learn Spanish and Korean.

Jemma.Garratt@londonwomensclinic.com

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Jason Parks

I graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2007 where I studied pre-medicine and neurology, and began working for the research department at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine the same year.  I currently lead Dr. Katz-Jaffe’s embryology team where I work toward refining micro and molecular biological techniques to improve fertility outcomes for IVF patients.  I am pursuing a PhD in genetics through the University of Kent, Canterbury with Dr. Griffin, and passed my Viva exam with minor corrections in March, 2021.  My current research focuses on developing and improving non-invasive techniques of embryo assessment, as well as studying the window of implantation, the critical time when an embryo implants into the uterus.  In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, exploring the mountains and pursuing my numerous hobbies. 

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Marie Claire Aquilina

My name is Marie Claire Aquilina, I graduated from University of Malta with a Bachelor`s in Biology and Chemistry and later went on to pursue a Masters in Assisted Reproductive Technology at the University of Nottingham. I am currently a PhD student at the University of Kent working on developing a suite of in house tests for measuring sperm DNA damage.  

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Vishanka Malhari Kulatilake

My name is Vishanka Malhari Kulatilake and I am a recent BSc Biomedical Sciences Graduate and current MSc Reproductive Medicine student. My interests lie in male and female infertility as well as obstetrics and gynaecology. I am hoping to completely a PhD in Reproductive Medicine/Genetics, in particular: a combination of herbal remedies in aiding standard male infertility in the U.K. 

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Lisa Marie Bosman

My name is Lisa Marie Bosman. I completed my undergraduate degree in South Africa from the University of Pretoria with a BSc (Agric) in Animal Sciences and to further my education, moved to the UK where I graduated from the University of Edinburgh in the MSc in Animal Breeding and Genetics (Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis) degree. I then moved to Canterbury, where I finished the MSc in Biotechnology and Bioengineering course at the University of Kent. It was during this time I completed my dissertation with Professor Darren Griffin who consequently offered me a PhD in his laboratory. I am currently in my second year of my PhD and aim to finish my research by September 2022. In my free time I am an avid competitive horse rider and animal lover who thrives in the outdoors whether it be hiking, flying helicopters or just having a simple coffee or glass of wine in the sun.

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Marie Rosellynn Enguito

My name is Marie Rosellynn Enguito. I am a Filipino and graduated from Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), Philippines. I have been doing a PhD in Genetics at the University of Kent since 2019. My focus is on comparative cytogenomic analysis of vertebrate species that are Philippine endemic and threatened. When not moving wildlife for analysis in laboratory and biobanking, I play piano and guitar at home or play chess.

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Maria Serrano Albal

 I graduated with a BSc in Biology from the University of Valencia, Spain, with a focus on Health Biology. After this I completed my MSc in The Biology and Technology of Reproduction in Mammals from the University of Murcia, Spain. Currently, I am a third year Ph.D student studying Genetics and Reproductive Medicine under Professor Darren Griffin’s supervision. My research is funded by a BBSRC grant, and I was awarded a Ph.D scholarship funded by JSR Genetics and Topigs Norsvin to explore new strategies for the improvement of mammalian in vitro production (IVP) to obtain high quality embryos.

My current research focuses on the development of new porcine in vitro maturation (IVM) media and gamete cryopreservation procedures. In generating embryos, my research allows me to study the nature and origin of aneuploidies, and specifically how the use of the preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy in embryos could increase pregnancy rates and live births for animal production.

In my spare time I love spending time with my family, going for long walks in the countryside, and watching TV with my partner.

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Andrea Victor

My name is Andrea Victor. I graduated from New York University where I studied pre-medicine and chemistry, and began working in the preimplantation genetics laboratory at the Ronald O. Perelment and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine at Weill Cornell. I pursued a master's degree in applied mathematics with a focus on mathematical biology, bioinformatics and biostatistics from Hunter College in New York City. I moved to San Francisco, California in 2012 to establish an in-house preimplantation genetic testing laboratory at Zouves Fertility Center, and to complete my training in human embryology. I am pursuing a PhD in genetics through the University of Kent, Canterbury with Dr. Griffin where my work has focused on mitochondrial DNA, embryonic mosaicism and most recently, vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, travelling and everything outdoors.

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Rafael Kretschmer

My name is Rafael Kretschmer. I am graduated in Environmental Management (Universidade Federal do Pampa, Brazil, 2012) and Biological science (Universidade Luterana do Brasil, Brazil, 2021), MSc in Biological science (Universidade Federal do Pampa, Brazil, 2014), and Phd in Genetics and Molecular Biology (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, 2018). I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. My interest comprise animal chromosome organization and evolution, especially in birds.
In my free time I like to ride a bike, read, watch movies and series.

 

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Worapong Singchat

I came from Laboratory of Animal Cytogenetics and Comparative Genomics (ACCG), Department of Genetics, Faculty of Science, Kasetsart University, Thailand.

I did my research at Prof. Darren Griffin's laboratory, School of Biosciences, University of Kent between September 2019 – August 2020 as a visiting student under Newton PhD Placement for Scholar. We investigated the process of sex chromosome differentiation and evolution between snakes, lizards, and other amniotes here, we constructed a chromosome map of snakes and lizards with BACs derived from chicken and zebra finch and compared it with those of chicken, zebra finch, and other amniotes, to confirm the existence of an “ancestral amniote super-sex chromosome”.

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Devin Monahan

My name is Devin Monahan. I graduated from St Bonaventure University with a BS in Biology and started my career in IVF working at the Ronald O. Perelmen and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine at Weill Cornell in New York City. In 2013 I moved to San Francisco and started working for Laurel Fertility Care. Shortly after moving to San Francisco, I completed my MS in Clinical Embryology from Eastern Virginia Medical School and I’m currently pursuing a PhD in genetics at the University of Kent. My work is focused on improving IVF outcomes by exploring new, noninvasive methods of performing preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy. I love to travel and in my free time I enjoy surfing the California coast.