Liggins Institute Summer Students Seminar Event as iCalendar

10 March 2017

1:30 - 2:30pm

Venue: Liggins Institute – Room 505-003

Location: 85 Park Road, Grafton, Auckland

Cost: Free

Contact email:

Speakers:     Nita McKenzie
                    What Is On Our Skin? A pilot study for sampling skin volatile organic compounds.
                    Kieran Deane-Alder
                    Joint Graphical Lasso for Metabolomics: Can You Wrangle More Out of Your Data?
                    Eleanor Adviento
                    How does local injury to endometrium promote embryo implantation?

Nita McKenzie: Volatile compounds found on our skin have the potential to answer many questions. They can be used for non-invasive disease diagnostics, monitoring our exposure to environmental pollutants, and understanding the role of our microbiome. An effective method of sampling skin volatiles is required to facilitate future research in this area. Volatile compounds on the arm of a healthy female subject were collected with Gerstel PDMS Twister stir bars, and samples were assessed for storage stability over four weeks at -80 °C. Results showed > 400 compounds and the majority of these were stable over the period tested. This means that storage of skin samples for long periods could be feasible, provided they remained unopened, and are stored under cold conditions.

Kieran Deane-Alde: In metabolomics, differences in metabolite levels between exposure or treatment groups are often simply compared as mean values with significance testing. However, some diseases may be better diagnosed, characterised, or studied by instead examining differences in profiles, or networks, of metabolites. This may be performed by computationally-expensive multivariate analysis of covariance. The joint graphical lasso is an optimised method of covariance analysis that could prove useful in interpreting the results of metabolomic studies.

Eleanor Adviento: Readiness of the endometrium (the lining of the womb) is often the rate limiting step in IVF success. Endometrial scratching/biopsy is currently being proposed as a technique to improve the probability of pregnancy in sub-fertile women undergoing IVF. It is thought that the action of performing a biopsy will create an injury or disturbance to the endometrium (a scratch), making it more receptive to the implantation of an embryo, and therefore increasing the probability of pregnancy. However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon are not understood. As a part of the project, this summer research project aimed to design primers and optimize real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) protocols, and to analyze the cyclic changes of selected genes in normal human endometrium.