Alumni Spotlight on Kristy Tse
Kristy Tse is an alumna of the MS-RSM program, class of 2019. She completed the non-thesis track and conducted research with Dr. Pamela Monahan and Dr. Wenan Qiang on on developing breast cancer organoid models. Kristy is currently training as a junior embryologist at Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco.
Name: Kristy Tse
MS-RSM Class of 2019
Project title: Developing Clinically Relevant Patient-Derived Organoids Cultured on a Human Breast Tissue Scaffold
What is your connection to the CRS community (mentor and position) and what is your current position?
I graduated from the MS-RSM program in 2019. I completed the non-thesis track and conducted research with Dr. Pamela Monahan and Dr. Wenan Qiang on breast cancer cell lines. I am currently training as a junior embryologist at Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco.
Could you describe your current research/studies?
Since graduating, I moved back to California and knew I wanted to work in some aspect of the reproductive biology field. I started a position as a lab assistant to learn more about the workings of an IVF lab. As I grew into my role, I came to love how I was able to put what I studied into practice and see how all the intricate pieces in the lab blended together to help build families. When offered to train as an embryologist, I jumped at the opportunity.
What aspect(s) of CRS did you find most valuable?
I found the breadth of events and opportunities offered by CRS to be the most valuable. I knew CRS provided a wide range of resources at our disposal and with my limited time, I wanted to immerse myself as much as possible. I valued attending networking events and special lectureships, learning from experts and peers in the field that I would not have had an opportunity to learn from otherwise. If it were not for CRS, I would not have known that embryology was a potential career option.
What has been the most valuable aspect to your training as a reproductive scientist in CRS?
Cultivating the teamwork among my group members was an invaluable aspect to my training as a reproductive scientist. Placed in a group of three for our research project, I quickly learned the importance of communication and collaboration. We entrusted parts of our project to each other, combining our individual strengths to achieve the final product of our project. This was reflected when even our mentor collaborated with peers on our colony formation assay. Teamwork remains an integral part of my job today.
What would you recommend to junior scientists in order for them succeed in their scientific careers?
Be adaptable and expose yourself to different skills, techniques, and ways of learning and thinking. It is important to learn the basic concepts but having a critical mind is what brings research questions to life.
What do you think will be the next big contribution in the reproductive biology field?
With technology rapidly advancing, I believe innovations will continue to be made in assisted reproductive technologies in the lab. One such technology is normalizing and increasing the uses of microfluidic devices. In our lab, we currently utilize a device to sort sperm for DNA fragmentation, but its use depends on the patient. It will be interesting to see how the potential of microfluidics can be applied to other aspects of the laboratory IVF cycle, such as oocyte denuding and embryo culture, in order to increase efficiency and reduce the stresses of gamete/embryo handling.
Do you have any notable stories from your time in CRS?
As a budding scientist, I experienced many memorable “firsts” during my time with CRS. My “firsts” included attending the Oncofertility Consortium, which was my first scientific conference, hosting journal club for the first time, and creating my first research poster with my group members. Even living in the snow was a first for me. I will never forget all the memories and relationships fostered at CRS.