Sci­ence de­liv­ers for re­searchers

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

A FER­TIL­ITY re­searcher from East Vic­to­ria Park and a South Perth geo­sci­en­tist are fi­nal­ists in the Pre­mier’s Sci­ence Awards.

Melanie Walls was short-listed for her work that shows IVM (In Vitro Mat­u­ra­tion) is as suc­cess­ful as nor­mal IVF when the em­bryos are re­placed after a frozen em­bryo trans­fer.

She is a PhD stu­dent at UWA’s School of Women’s and In­fant’s Health, and a se­nior clin­i­cal em­bry­ol­o­gist and re­searcher with the Fer­til­ity Spe­cial­ists of WA and Fer­til­ity Spe­cial­ists South.

“The ba­sic prin­ci­ple be­hind IVM is that in­stead of lots of in­jec­tions and high doses of hor­mones given to the pa­tient, the eggs are col­lected early after very small amounts of drugs or none at all and the hor­mones are added into the so­lu­tion the eggs are cul­tured in,” she said.

“We are very lucky in Aus­tralia that Medi­care cov­ers the cost of th­ese med­i­ca­tions; how­ever in most coun­tries this is not the case and IVM can be a much cheaper alternative to nor­mal IVF.”

Her PhD also looked at whether the eggs and em­bryos de­vel­oped in the same way, us­ing time-lapse in­cu­ba­tion and ‘mor­phoki­net­ics’.

“This means that the em­bryos are placed in an incubator that takes a photo of the em­bryo ev­ery 10 min­utes and puts to­gether a video over five to six days,” she said.

South Perth geo­sci­en­tist Pro­fes­sor Zheng-Xiang Li, of Curtin Univer­sity’s School of Mines, is also a fi­nal­ist for the award.

Prof Li has pushed the boundaries of knowl­edge about the evo­lu­tion of Earth, mak­ing im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions to the field of tec­ton­ics and geo­dy­nam­ics.

He was piv­otal in build­ing WA’s ma­jor re­search cen­tres for geo­science and is lead­ing an in­ter­na­tional geo­science pro­ject which is highly rel­e­vant to Perth min­eral and re­source in­dus­tries.

Prof Li is Aus­tralian co-di­rec­tor of the Aus­tralia-China Joint Re­search Cen­tre for Tec­ton­ics and Earth Re­sources.

Melanie Walls is a fi­nal­ist for the Pre­mier’s Sci­ence Awards.

Prof ZhengXiang Li.

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