Promoting interdisciplinary communication, education, and collaborative research into the causal mechanisms, diagnosis, epidemiology, and clinical implications of constitutional chromosome abnormalities.
Board of Directors
Alan Handyside, Executive Director, is an Honorary Professor of the School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. He is an internationally-recognised pioneer and expert in human embryology and preimplantation genetics with an extensive research portfolio, track record for innovation in single cell diagnostics (including two patents) and 20 years experience in management in the private IVF sector in the UK. His research interests are in human embryology and preimplantation genetics, including a particular interest in the association between aneuploidy and developmental arrest.
Eva Hoffmann, Co-Chair, is a Scientific Director of the clinical consortium ReproUnion and Deputy Director of the Center for Chromosome Stability at the Medical School at the University of Copenhagen. Her research focusses on how genomic instability in human gametes and embryos affect pregnancy loss and congenital disorders. This includes the development of single-cell sequencing and computational methods to probe genomic changes in eggs and tissues.
Rajiv McCoy, Co-Chair, is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Johns Hopkins University whose research is focused on human genetics and evolution. His lab seeks insight into the genomic basis of variation in human fertility through the development and application of computational and statistical methods. To this end, his work combines diverse datasets and conceptual frameworks from complex trait genetics and evolutionary genomics to gain quantitative perspectives on human reproduction. Participation by Dr. McCoy does not constitute or imply endorsement by the Johns Hopkins University or the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System.
Karen Schindler, Secretary, is an Associate Professor in the Genetics Department at Rutgers University. Her research program aims at understanding the origins of aneuploidy by evaluating mutant mouse models where key genes that control meiosis are knocked out and by identifying and assessing genetic variants in the human genome that are causative of female gamete aneuploidy. Her work is funded by NIGMS and NICHD.
Nathan Treff, Treasurer, is co-founder, CSO, and clinical laboratory director of the Genomic Prediction Clinical Laboratory. He is an associate professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and adjunct professor in the Rutgers Department of Genetics. His research interests are expanding and improving genetic testing in the preimplantation embryo.
Peter Benn is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at the University of Connecticut, USA. His career has focussed on the clinical provision of screening and diagnosis for genetic disorders. His more recent research has mostly focussed on the optimal provision of non-invasive prenatal testing through the analysis of cell free DNA in maternal plasma and the significance of confined placental mosaicism.
Antonio Capalbo is Scientific and Laboratory Director at Igenomix Italy (Rome, Italy) and Senior Deputy of the ESHRE Special Interest Group in Reproductive Genetics. His scientific interest focuses on preimplantation genetic testing and the development of novel molecular techniques and embryo biopsy protocols to improve pregnancy and take-home baby rates in ART; basic research is focused on the mechanisms and implications of aneuploidies in oocytes and preimplantation human embryos. He has developed substantial expertise in Preimplantation Genetic Testing, IVF and clinical embryology, Preconception Carrier Screening, Human Genetics, with 15 years of experience in management of IVF and reproductive genetics laboratories.
Monica Colaiacovo is Professor of Genetics at the Blavatnik Institute of Harvard Medical School. Her lab investigates the mechanisms underlying germline maintenance and accurate chromosome inheritance during meiosis. Addressing this is of vital importance in order to understand the sources of errors that result in infertility, miscarriages, birth defects such as Down syndrome, and tumorigenesis in humans. These studies provide key insights into the molecular basis for the regulation of germline maintenance and meiotic chromosome segregation.
Howard Cuckle is a reproductive epidemiologist and international authority on screening, particularly in the antenatal period. Current academic affiliations include Tel Aviv University Faculty of Medicine, Israel; Columbia University Medical Center, USA; and University of Leeds, UK. He is also associated with the Perinatal Quality Foundation which runs the largest NT education and quality review program in the USA. Throughout his career he has authored more than 500 publications in books and medical journals.
Eleanor Feingold is Interim Chair and Professor of Human Genetics, Professor of Biostatistics, and Executive Associate Dean at the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. In her research, she develops statistical methods for questions in genetics, particularly involving genomic data and new technologies. This includes digging into the gory details and understanding how data from new technologies need to be cleaned before they can be used. She also enjoys working with large collaborative groups to dissect the genetics of particular traits.
Terry Hassold is Professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences and Center for Reproductive Biology at Washington State University. The primary aim of his laboratory is the use of cytogenetic and molecular techniques to study the origin and etiology of human chromosome abnormalities, with the aim being to uncover basic mechanisms responsible for the errors. His lab has recently initiated a series of studies to examine factors responsible for “setting” recombination levels in mammalian males and females.
Mary Herbert is Professor of Reproductive Biology at Newcastle University, and Scientific Director at Newcastle Fertility Centre. She and her team are preventing the transmission of mitochondrial DNA disease using nuclear transplantation. This cutting edge mechanism, commonly referred to as three-person IVF, has the potential to prevent transmission of devastating disease from mother to child. In addition to mitochondrial disease, Mary’s research focuses on the underlying causes of infertility, miscarriage and birth defects in older women.
Patricia Hunt is a Meyer Distinguished Professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University. Research in the Hunt laboratory focuses on the genetic control of reproduction in mammals, with a major emphasis on understanding the causes of human chromosome abnormalities, human infertility, and environmental effects on reproduction. A major research focus is on understanding the control of the normal meiotic process in the mammalian female, the mechanisms(s) by which errors occur, and the way in which age and environmental contaminants influence both male and female meiosis.
Chaim Jalas is COO and Director of Technology Development at the Foundation for Embryonic Competence (FEC). Chaim has been an active researcher and investigator in the area of Genetics and Fertility since the start of his career more than 15 years ago. With over 40 publications, he has played a significant role in the development of multidisciplinary research, technology and clinical research in the area of Genetics and Fertility. He has been named Principal Investigator or Co-investigator for numerous studies conducted at prestigious institutions such as the Broad institute of MIT and Harvard in Boston and Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. He served on the board of Columbia University’s genomics IRB. At the FEC, he is actively involved in developing and validating genetic testing platforms for PGT-A, PGT-M and PGT-SR and ongoing research studies.
Brynn Levy is a Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology at the Columbia University Medical Center. He is also the Medical Director of the Clinical Cytogenetics Laboratory of the New York Presbyterian Hospital and a Co-Director of the Division of Personalized Genomics in the Department of Pathology & Cell Biology. His research areas of interest include early prenatal screening using fetal cells and cell-free fetal DNA from maternal circulation, PGD and the etiology of recurrent miscarriage.
Joan Morris is Professor of Medical Statistics at St. George’s University of London. Her research focuses on the epidemiology of congenital anomalies and the safety of medications in pregnancy. She is the primary investigator on the EUROlinkCAT study which involves supporting 22 registries in 14 countries in Europe to link their data on births with congenital anomalies to hospital episode statistics, national mortality data, prescription data bases, GP data and education data. The aim is to obtain more information about the lives of children children with congenital anomalies up to 10 years of age. She also works on the ConcePTION study which aims to improve safety of medications used in pregnancy.
Christian Ottolini, as one of the first IVF babies, feels an innate sense of needing to understand the origins of life. An embryologist by training, Christian is now the Laboratory Director of The Evewell in London, UK. He holds honorary academic positions at University College London and the University of Kent where he continues his research into aneuploidy in human oocytes and the link between aneuploidy and preimplantation embryo development.
Eugene Pergament is an emeritus faculty member at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and one of the world’s leading reproductive geneticists. Eugene began his medical career specializing in pediatric genetics then transitioned to reproductive genetics in the early 1980s. As a reproductive geneticist, Eugene has provided clinical services to thousands of patients in the Chicago area and helped to develop techniques that are utilized throughout the world to provide information to pregnant women and their partners. He is a founding member of the American College of Medical Genetics.
Melina Schuh is a Director at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, where she leads the Department of Meiosis. Her laboratory investigates how fertilisable eggs develop in mammals, and how errors arise in this process, which are a major cause of miscarriages and infertility. A key aim of her laboratory is to investigate how the oocyte’s cytoskeleton drives meiosis, and how defects at the interface between chromosomes and cytoskeletal structures lead to aneuploid eggs and pregnancy loss.
Stephanie Sherman is Professor in the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Her training is in the area of genetic epidemiology, and she has been involved in coordination of multi-site projects to unravel the genetic architecture of complex traits and to understand potential gene-environment interactions. Currently, she is involved in research to understand the causes and consequences of Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome. She is the co-Director of the Down Syndrome Center at Emory University, a center that combines clinical care, clinical trials and research, and education related to Down syndrome.
Joris Vermeesch is head of the Laboratory of Cytogenetics and Genome Research at the Center for Human Genetics, KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium. The Vermeesch laboratory develops and uses genomic technologies to map the causes and mechanisms underlying rare developmental disorders with a focus on structural variation and mosaicism detection. The laboratory translates and implement technologies to improve postnatal diagnosis of rare diseases as well as preimplantation and prenatal genetic testing to avoid transmission of disease alleles.
Lena Wartosch is a staff scientist in Melina Schuh’s Department of Meiosis at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany. The laboratory studies the intricate process of mammalian egg cell development and maturation into a fertilisable egg and, in particular, works to understand the underlying causes of errors during this process often leading to infertility or pregnancy loss. Focusing on the role of the oocyte cytoskeleton, the laboratory investigates how erroneous interactions between the cytoskeleton and chromosomes can cause aneuploidy.
Jinchuan Xing is an Associate Professor in the Genetics Department at Rutgers University. His research program focuses on the inter-individual genomic diversity and the impact of genomic variation. Using genomic and computational approaches, his lab identifies genetic factors (DNA variants, genes, and pathways) that contribute to female gamete aneuploidy.
Yuval Yaron is Obstetrician Gynecologist, Medical Geneticist, and Director of the Prenatal Genetic Diagnosis Unit at the Tel Aviv Medical Center, affiliated to the Tel Aviv University School of Medicine. He is Organizer and Chairman of COGEN, Controversies in Genetics World Congress. His main interests are in prenatal diagnosis of aneuploidy, chromosomal microarray, PGT, cfDNA in miscarriages, and next generation sequencing.