- The objective of Prof. García Velasco and Dr. Varela is to study telomeres in the ovary, to determine its role on female fertility and investigate potential use for ovarian rejuvenation.
- The IVIRMA Madrid Basic Research Center investigators are the winners of this prestigious biennial award, given by Gedeon Richter, and will embark on a research project over the next five years.
VALENCIA, AUGUST 31ST, 2018
During the last annual ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology) congress, held in Barcelona in July, GEDEON RICHTER announced IVI Madrid Director Prof. Juan Antonio García-Velasco and his co-investigator Dr. Elisa Varela as the recipients of the FORWARD Fertility Research Grant Award. This prestigious award will allow the two IVIRMA researchers to study the rejuvenation of telomeres in the ovary.
Based on the previous work by Prof. María Blasco (CNIO – Spanish National Center for Oncological Research), Drs. García-Velasco and Varela will investigate telomeres and their impact on female fertility. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect chromosomes. Telomeres shorten with each round of cell division and this mechanism limits proliferation of human cells to a finite number of cell divisions. As cells divide repeatedly, telomeres grow shorter and the cells age. The aim of the study of by Prof. García-Velasco and Dr. Varela is to find ways to lengthen the telomeres, to rejuvenate the ovary, and ultimately to make conception possible in women of older reproductive age and those with premature ovarian insufficiency.
According to Prof. García-Velasco “one of the main aims of IVIRMA is to find new ideas and embark on new research avenues to continue scientific progress in the field of Reproductive Medicine. We can see that the number of women seeking help for infertility in increasing, partly due to societal changes, where motherhood is increasingly delayed. We are very excited about this new project. If we can understand how the ovaries and oocytes age, we might be able to reverse the damage and improve outcomes in older women. “
Dr. Varela also commented; “the main focus of IVIRMA is our patients. Our research focus is to improve day-to-day experience of our patients and achieve higher success rates. We firmly believe that studying telomeres in the ovary can yield encouraging results and we are enormously excited about this project. “
The Forward (Gedeon Richter) Scholarship, announced in July during the largest European assisted reproduction conference, will allow Prof. García-Velasco and Dr. Varela to embark on five years of research. This scholarship, which is awarded every two years, aims to promote the most original and innovative projects related to Assisted Reproduction. For the 2018 scholarship, 65 researchers from 16 European countries were reviewed to select the final six winners including Drs. Juan Antonio García-Velasco and Elisa Varela.