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- Research interest:The research Group Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry offers veterinary expertise in planning and executing surgical interventions on animals (eg within the framework of scientific research). It has (limited) stable facilities for large animals (sheep, pigs, horses, cows and small camelids) and offers expertise in veterinary management of animals, within the limits of zootechnical (non-infectious) research experiments. Expertise on housing and management of large animals (dairy cattle industry) is available for third parties and public use. More specifically, a vast expertise is available on reproductive physiology and bovine herd health management. Services are offered within the framework of scientific collaboration or a financial agreement (Jo.Leroy@ua.ac.be). In addition, the research group offers a broad expertise on gene expression techniques, which was initiated within the research group of Ecophysiology, Biochemistry ad Toxicology (EBT, UA) and further developed over the past 5 years. In the future, the collaboration between the two groups will even increase and result in the establishment of a gene expression platform to offer services to other partners within and outside of the University of Antwerp (Dries.Knapen@ua.ac.be).
- Keywords:DOHAD, MATERNAL METABOLISM, REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY AND TOXICITY, IN VITRO EMBRYO PRODUCTION, OOCYTE QUALITY, FERTILITY, Veterinary medicine
- Disciplines:Animal biology, Biochemistry and metabolism, General biology, Medical biochemistry and metabolism, Veterinary medicine, Other veterinary sciences, Other agricultural, veterinary and food sciences
- Research techniques:The Gamete Research offers center offers several animal-embryomodels that can be used in (basic as well as applied) reproductive physiology research: ‘mouse follicle bio-assay’, bovine in vitro embryo, het zebrafish-embryo model, polarised oviduct model. These models are complex in vitro cell culture (3D) systems that mimic the in vivo situation as good as possible. A broad expertise on the development and use of these models is available. Complimentary to morphological analyses (light and fluorescence microscopy, immunohistochemistry and histology), the possibility exist to map the oxidative and energiemetabolism of individual (bovine) embryos. In addition, gene expression analysis through micro-array technology is possible using the different animal models. Based on this information, biological mechanisms can be studied to elucidate observed effects at a higher level of biological organization. On the otherhand, these techniques can be used to develop ‘classifiers’ that can define different kinds of stress (chemically of metabolically induced) with possible application in toxicity screening and drug development. Finally, the Gameter Research Center offers experise on gamete and tissue cryopreservation and gamete banking. Within this research group, there is extensive expertise with ultrasound technology to study the reproductive system in large animals, including ultrasound-guided follicle aspiration to retrieve oocytes and ovarian biopsies from living donors and repeatedly sample follicular fluid.
- Users of research expertise:Toxicity screening at the level of folliculogenesis, oogenesis and the development of the pre-implantation embryo, drug discovery, basic research on metabolic pathways and cellular physiology. Research on the effect of maternal metabolism on oocyte and embryo quality and the health of the offspring. Availability of in vitro animal models as an alternative for the use of laboratory animals. Interested parties for the use of veterinary expertise in reproduction related issues.