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Global MS Program Connections Made: Virtual Journal Club between Northwestern University, USA and the University of Murcia, Spain!

By: Chelsea Castleberry, CRS Program Assistant, November 28, 2017

The Master of Science in Reproductive Science and Medicine (MS-RSM) students made global connections last week by participating in a trans-Atlantic virtual journal club with the Masters in Biology and Technology of Reproduction in Mammals students at the University of Murcia in Spain!

The Center for Reproductive Science Executive Director, Dr. Francesca Duncan, is currently teaching at the University of Murcia as a Fulbright scholar, and created the connection between the two masters programs.

For the inaugural trans-Atlantic journal club, the group discussed “ZP2 peptide beads select human sperm in vitro, decoy mouse sperm in vivo, and provide reversible contraception”, by Avella et al, published in Science Translational Medicine in April 2016.  Importantly, Maria Jimenez Movilla, the faculty coordinator of the MS program in Murcia was a co-author on this work.

During the journal club, the students reviewed the manuscript, which describes exciting research that involves the use of microscopic beads coated with a component of the outer shell of human eggs (the zona pellucida).  These beads can sequester sperm to prevent fertilization and therefore represents a potential new form of contraception. This technology could also be used to improve sperm selection methods for use in in vitro fertilization. 

The students at the University of Murcia presented figures and prompted topics for discussion via videoconference. The meeting was a great success and the Center for Reproductive Science hopes to continue these cross-institution collaborations in the future!

collage of students presenting at the journal club