Postdoctoral Scholar Position

Reproductive Biomechanics for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Postdoctoral or graduate student researcher to collaborate with OB/GYN fellow/faculty on Coulter funded project in "Smart Biomedical Device Lab"

Background: Our lab recently discovered that the hardness of a fertilized egg predicts developmental competency [Yanez 2016]. This discovery is important because the process of IVF involves fertilizing over a dozen eggs that all appear the same, however, only a few at best are competent to make a baby. Therefore, pregnancy rates remain very low with only 1 in 4 cycles resulting in a live birth.

Using the simple technique of micropipette aspiration and measuring the time-dependent deformation of the egg, we have demonstrated a 50% increase in live birth rate for mice. We have also launched a pilot clinical trial where we have shown that day 1 fertilized egg measurements can predict survival to day 5 (when embryos are transferred back to the mother) with nearly 90% sensitivity and specificity. However, we believe that even more valuable information resides in the un-fertilized egg because there are currently no non-invasive methods to determine egg maturation. Therefore, we aim to determine the optimal window for fertilizing eggs and to improve success rate clinically in IVF.

Aims: This project involves the integration of engineering, biological, and clinical science. The engineering aim of this project is to build an automated system for measuring egg and embryo biomechanics, which is currently heavily manual. This system should have very little dependence on the operator as we plan to deploy it at a clinical test site with our collaborators in China. The biological aim of this project is to characterize egg cytoplasmic maturation and determine the biomechanical and biochemical optimal fertilization window. The clinical goal of this project is to demonstrate improved pregnancy rates compared to standard-of-care morphological assessments.

Collaborators in OB/GYN: Barry Behr, Ph.D.; Valerie Baker, M.D.; Jonathan Kort, M.D.

David B. Camarillo, Ph.D.
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Faculty Scholar
Child Health Research Institute at Stanford
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and (by courtesy) Mechanical Engineering
Stanford University Schools of Medicine and Engineering

Desired Background: Engineering electro-mechanical and/or software design, optical design, cell culture, single cell analyses, biomechanical modeling, clinical studies
Ideal start date: Winter, 2016

Application Materials:
  1. Cover letter
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Two letters of reference
  4. Two representative publication
Citation: Yanez, L. Z., Han, J., Behr, B. B., Pera, R. A. R., & Camarillo, D. B. (2016). Human oocyte developmental potential is predicted by mechanical properties within hours after fertilization. Nature communications,7.

Contact for applications:

David Camarillo, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor or Bioengineering
Link to lab website