Upcoming Events

Apply now to speak at our triennial Morulas Virtual Research Meeting!

Apply now to speak at our 2023 Morulas Virtual Research Meeting! Please email morulas@iets.org with any questions. We look forward to reading your application!

Past Events

IETS membership includes access to previously recorded webinars.

Empowering Tomorrow's Innovators: A Joint SRBT and IETS Morulas Webinar on Career Opportunities and Entrepreneurship

Dr. Liesl Nel-Themaat has been in the field of assisted reproduction for more than 20 years, with the past 11 years in clinical IVF. She possesses a unique combination of a strong academic background, broad technical experience and extensive leadership, and management training. Through a multi-dimensional approach, she has helped to improve patient care and outcomes in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

Dr. Nel-Themaat currently is the IVF Lab Director and Associate Clinical Professor at the Stanford University Fertility and Reproductive Health program and the Embryology Lab Director for IVF Phoenix. She was formerly the Regional Lab Director for Shady Grove Fertility in Colorado as well as the former IVF Lab Director at University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Stellenbosch University (South Africa), her PhD in Reproductive Physiology from Louisiana State University, (making her one of Bob Godke’s “Repro Rangers”) and an Executive MBA from the University of Denver.

Dr. Nel-Themaat has and continues to serve on several national and international boards and committees. These include having served as President of the ASRM Society for Reproductive Biologists and Technologists (SRBT), founder and current chair of the SRBT global Outreach Committee, co-founder and first president of the Colorado Association of Reproductive Technologists (CART), a founding member of the International IVF Initiative (i3), former Board member of the College of Reproductive Biology (CRB) and is known for starting World Embryologist Day. Dr. Nel-Themaat is an active member of ASRM, SRBT, SMRU, AAB, ABB, CRB and has a distinguished record of publications.

Her goal is to advance the field “by building strong, high performing lab teams, by carefully evaluating and adapting appropriately to industry trends, by training and educating the current and next generations, and by participating in collaborative research that enhances our understanding of reproduction.”

In her free time, Dr. Nel-Themaat loves to spend time with her husband and two children, preferably in nature.

Dr. T. Arthur Chang, PhD, HCLD, ELD, CC, is Professor of OB/GYN at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas, and Director of Clinical ART Laboratories at UT Health Reproductive Health & Fertility Center and US DoD’s Brooke Army Medical Center IVF Lab. Prof. Chang received his bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from National Taiwan University, Taiwan, MS and PhD in Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. He is board certified as High-complexity Clinical Laboratory Director (HCLD), Embryology Laboratory Director (ELD), and Clinical Consultant (CC) by the American Board of Bioanalysis (ABB).

Prof. Chang’s clinical and research interests include IVF, embryology, implantation, 3D and extended embryo culture, artificial embryo, PGT, ART laboratory management and business models, as well as nonhuman primate model for reproductive medicine. He has served on numerous leadership and committee positions worldwide, including American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM: Board, committee chair), Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART: Board, committee chairs), Society of Reproductive Biologists and Technologists (SRBT: President, Board, committee chairs), American Association of Bioanalysts - College of Reproductive Biology (AAB-CRB: President, Board, committee chairs), Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE: Board, committee and SIG co-chairs), Taiwanese Society for Reproductive Medicine (TSRM), and Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR). He is associate editor for Journal of Assisted Reproduction & Genetics (JARG), section editor for Reproductive Biology & Endocrinology (RB&E), accreditation inspection team leader for College of American Pathologists (CAP), off-site director for ART and CLIA laboratories, and consultant to governments and the industry. He has received ASRM Service Milestone Award and 7 times ASRM Star Award for his research and professional service contributions.

Dr. Gerry Celia grew up in Rhode Island on a small horse farm raising and breeding Morgan horses in the 1980s. This passion leads him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in animal science with a focus on reproductive physiology from the University of Connecticut (Class of ’94). During this time his interests expanded beyond equine reproduction and he was accepted as an intern at the San Diego Zoo’s Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species where he worked on rojects ranging from cryopreservation of Arabian Oryx sperm to the White Rhinocerous breeding program. This experience solidified Gerry’s desire to pursue a PhD, leading him to move to Ithaca, New York where he began taking graduate classes in the Animal Science department at Cornell University while working for Genex – a live stock breeding cooperative. While at Cornell Gerry became acquainted with Dr. George Osol, chair of the research division at the University of Vermont College of Medicine department of Ob/Gyn. Dr. Osol was an animal scientist who had shifted his focus to human reproduction and offered Gerry a full graduate fellowship to study at UVM. Gerry was awarded his PhD in 2004 in molecular physiology and biophysics for his work on placentation and maternal adaptation to pregnancy. He followed this with a post-doc in the Department of Ob/Gyn where he became interested in assisted human reproduction, leading him to leave academia for a career in embryology. Gerry is a board-certified Technical Supervisor (ABB), High Complexity Laboratory Director (ABB), and Clinical Consultant (ABB). He has served as the president of both the College of Reproductive Biology (CRB) and the Society for Reproductive Biologists and Technologists (SRBT), and as a board member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and SRBT, although he is perhaps most well-known for founding the Maverick Reproductive Biologists Facebook group.

Most recently Gerry completed his MBA from the College of William and Mary (class of ’23) and serves as the Laboratory Director for the ART programs at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCUHealth) and Brown University in RI (Women and Infants Hospital), and as Executive Laboratory Director for Pacific Fertility Center of Los Angeles. He owns a consulting company - Celia Laboratory Solutions - and is a scientific advisor for Fairtility A.I. and a lecturer for Vitrolife. He currently resides in coastal Virginia with his wife and young son where they continue to raise horses and enjoy life by the ocean.

Dr. Klaus Wiemer PhD, HCLD received his master’s degree at New Mexico State in Reproductive Physiology and a PhD from Louisiana State University in Reproductive Physiology with and emphasis in embryology.

Dr. Wiemer has extensive experience in many aspects of human clinical embryology as well as infertility practice management and development. Dr Wiemer has over 35 years of experience directing IVF Laboratories and has been an off-site director of several fertility clinics.  Dr Wiemer has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in a wide range of topics in clinical embryology. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the Overall Grand Prize awarded by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine as well as LIFE Award for Laboratory Innovation in Fertility and Embryology.

His main interests are in embryo culture systems, improving laboratory outcomes and studying the effects of follicular stimulation on subsequent oocyte and embryo quality.  He is currently conducting research on developing an embryo morphology grading system that can be used to predict ploidy, as well as rate and quality of blastocyst development. He was a founding partner of Northwest Center for Reproductive Science as well as Poma Fertility in the Seattle metroplex. He now consults with various IVF centers nationally and internationally as well as related industries. He presently serves as the Corporate Lab Director for Global Premier Fertility based out of Southern California. He is also Head of Clinical Affairs for Fairtility, Inc. An AI company that has developed predictive algorithms in a wide range of embryology. Dr. Wiemer has also established two IVF centers that had some of the highest success rates in the Seattle metropolitan area and the United States. He has also assisted in the establishment of IVF centers in other major markets that have been successful both clinically as well as financially.

Dr. Wiemer is well-versed in troubleshooting centers and labs and is experienced in experimental design in clinical embryology and directing experimental trials with industry leaders. IVF Centers directed by Dr. Wiemer have all seen major improvements in oocyte quality, embryo development, improvements in blastocyst conversion rates, and improvements in efficiencies. He maintains an excellent reputation in the national and international community with extensive experience working in Latin America and is well-connected with related industries and leaders.

Dr. Mitchel C. Schiewe attained his BS and MS degrees studying Animal Science/Reproductive Physiology at University at California-Davis and Louisiana State University in the early 1980’s, subsequently attaining his PhD in Human Physiology at USUHS. He was a Research Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo and the NIH during his doctoral program.  As a graduate student, he competed in the IETS Student Research competition twice (1983 runner-up, 1984-1st place) and co-authored two additional studies winning 1st place acknowledgement in 1985 & 1987. He remained active in the IETS until 1995 as a member of the esteemed Import-Export Committee, Education committee Chair and IETS Foundation Chair.  Upon completing an NSF Associateship post-doc at NIH studying Blastocyst Reconstruction modelling, he entered the world of Human IVF in 1992 as an Assistant Professor at UC-Irvine.  As a High Complexity Lab Director since 1995, he has continued developing and applying Assisted Reproductive Technologies, including various novel procedures & publications.  As a perennial ASRM Star Award recipient, he continues to strive to improve and simplify applied ARTs which optimize clinical outcomes and universal vitrification practices.  Mitch was among the first scientists to study embryo-laser ablation and successfully apply ICSI into clinical practice in 1993 in California/Mexico, then subsequently using fresh and frozen epididymal and testicular sperm in Rome, Italy in 1994/1995.  Additionally, he has been of professional service to ASRM, organizing 4 Pre-Congress courses, creating Cryobiology/Vitrification CME courses, and he was a 2-time Chairman of the past Reproductive Biologists Professional Group (RBPG) before aligning them with the Reproductive Lab Technologists PG to form the current Society for Reproductive Biologists & Technologists (SRBT).  Mitch currently serves as the Research committee Chairman of the SRBT.

Dr. Scott Purcell, PhD, HCLD is the Laboratory Director at Virginia Fertility & IVF in Charlottesville, VA, and has served as an off-site Laboratory Director at both academic and private clinics.  He received his undergraduate and MS degrees in the Animal Sciences Department at Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. in Reproductive Biology from the Biomedical Sciences Department at Colorado State University.  He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Ob/Gyn Department at Washington University in St. Louis.  He is board-certified as a High-complexity Clinical Laboratory Director (HCLD) and as a Technical Supervisor (TS) in Andrology and Embryology.




Tawny Scanlan holds a Ph.D. in Animal Biology from the University of California, Davis, with a focus on Sustainable Aquaculture.

She currently serves as an FTW Ventures Associate, with the mission to support leading founders, advise global corporations, and deploy capital from high-quality investors to make meaningful change for profit, people & planet. Tawny’s work focuses on Life Science investment opportunities for Food & Agriculture.

Tawny originally joined FTW through the IIFH Fellowship program at the University of California, Davis, where she worked for FTW while completing her PhD. She now conducts research, outreach, and diligence for the FTW Ventures Life Sciences initiatives as well as maintains the extensive FTW Ventures Deal Database. Tawny's academic formation and work have allowed her to gain extensive experience in the entrepreneurial field, combining science and business.

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Third Morulas Virtual Research Webinar of 2023

Julieta D’Augero
Nuclear progesterone receptor in growing bovine oocytes

Dr. Dawit Tesfaye
From stress to success: Exploring the role of extracellular vesicles in stress adaptation


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September 13, 2023 Webinar

This webinar features one of our Morulas fellows, Shilpa Doultani, and a guest speaker, Dr. Lotte Stroebech.
We hope you can join us to hear these two fantastic talks!


Shilpa Doultani
Replacing ovum pick-up and in vitro embryo production media suite for IVEP in cattle: The endeavor to lower the cost of embryo production.

Dr. Lotte Stroebech
In vitro embryo production: Cutting-edge insights from an industry perspective.


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May 2, 2023 Webinar

Lais Barbosa Latorraca
Genomic and Transcriptomic Landscape of Oocyte Growth in Cattle

Fabiana Fernandes Bressan
Cellular Reprogramming and in Vitro Gametogenesis: Insights of New Biotechnologies on Animal Reproduction


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November 2, 2023 Webinar

Patricia Kubo Fontes presents: Oviductal magnetic spheroids: novel and simple 3D culture system
Matteo Duque presents Tertaploid complementation and embryo aggregation in domestic and wild cats

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July 27, 2022 Webinar

Daniell Angel-Velez
Ghent University
The enigma behind equine oocyte vitrification

Marion Papas
Ghent University
Can the endocrinology of the mare predict the outcomes of an OPU-ICSI program?

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1st Morulas Virtual Research Meeting 2022

April 29, 9:00 PDT, 18:00 CEST

Dear Morulas,

We are happy to invite you to join us for the First Virtual Research Meeting of 2022. Your participation was very important in deciding this year’s meeting content, and we hope you will continue your active involvement in Morulas activities.

Morulas members as speakers of the meeting:

DVM. PhD. Alejandro de la Fuente will present the lecture "Understanding the dynamics of equine oocyte maturation using a transcriptomic approach". Dr. de la Fuente is a currently postdoc fellow at the Veterinary Assisted Reproduction Laboratory – University of California Davis, USA, where also accomplished master and PhD studies in animal biology. Dr. de la Fuente graduated as veterinarian at the University of Cordoba (Spain) and University of Concepcion (Chile).

Nima Azari Dolatabad will present the lecture "Tips and tricks for an individual in vitro culture of bovine embryos". Nima is currently a PhD candidate at Ghent University, Belgium. He graduated from Yasuj University, Iran and accomplished his master studies at Isfahan University of Technology, Iran.

The link of the meeting will be available via e-mail, website and social media. The record can be accessed by active Morulas members on iets.org website.

Morulas Team

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Morulas Third Virtual Research Meeting

October 14, 2021 12:00 p.m. CT

Beatriz Fernandez Fuertes

Regulation of the maternal environment by paternal factors: Insights from the bovine model

Beatriz Fernandez Fuertes is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research in Spain. Her broad scientific interest is the male aspect of fertility in livestock: in particular, how interactions between male factors and the maternal environment shape successful pregnancy. After obtaining her degree in veterinary medicine from the Complutense University of Madrid in 2012, Fernandez Fuertes joined the laboratory of Dr. Pat Lonergan at University College Dublin. There, she completed her PhD in reproductive biology in 2016 and was then awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship investigating different aspects of bull sperm function. In 2018, she was granted a European Commission Marie Curie Individual Fellowship at the University of Girona to study maternal-paternal interactions in cattle. In 2020 she joined the laboratory of Dr. Dimitrios Rizos, where her research continues to focus on this topic.

Guillaume Domain

Can single-layer centrifugation with Canicoll improve semen freezability in dogs?

Guillaume Domain is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Ghent University, Belgium. Domain graduated as a doctor of veterinary medicine at Liège University, Belgium, in 2017 and joined Ghent University in 2018 after completing a clinical rotational internship in the small animal department. His PhD focuses on canine andrology and, more precisely, on the improvement of semen cryopreservation and fertility prediction. Parallel to his PhD, Domain is also a resident of the European College of Animal Reproduction.

Morulas Virtual Research Meeting

June 24, 2021
11:00 am CDT
Reminder Art

Giovana Di Donato Catandi,

Colorado State University (USA)

How does mare age affect oocyte metabolic and developmental competence?

Giovana Di Donato Catandi is a PhD candidate in Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University under Dr Elaine Carnevale. Giovana graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2016. She worked as a research assistant at the University of Minnesota in 2017 under Dr Rafael Bisinotto, where her research focused on investigating the impact of hoof lesions on reproductive success in dairy cows. She joined the Colorado State University Equine Reproduction Lab in 2017 where she is currently researching how mare conditions, such as aging and obesity, affect oocyte metabolic function and developmental potential. She is also interested in investigating the potential of dietary supplementation in mitigating those effects and ultimately improving fertility outcomes of older and obese mares.

Katrien Smits, Ghent University (Belgium)

OPU-ICSI in the horse: An update

Katrien Smits is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Ghent (Belgium). Katrien graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 and completed her Ph.D. in 2010 on equine in vitro embryo production with emphasis on intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) at Ghent University. The focus of Katrien's postdoc is on unraveling embryo-maternal interactions and optimizing assisted biotechnology techniques in the horse. Among the achievements of Katrien's research: SMICSI, the first ICSI-foal in Belgium, and VICSI, the first foal resulting from ICSI of a vitrified immature oocyte. Katrien is the author of 40 peer-reviewed A1 publications and is the mentor of several masters and Ph.D. students.

First Morulas Virtual Research Meeting

March 4, 2021, at 11 am CST

Hello, Morulas!

We would like to officially invite you all to the Morulas’ first Virtual Research Meeting! These meetings will happen three times a year and are designed to feature research from our own Morulas members. Our first speakers are José Felipe Warmling Spricigo, Universidade Federal de Goiás (Brazil), and Krishna Chaitanya Pavani, Ghent University (Belgium).

The meeting will take place March 4, 6 pm (GMT +1) at the following Zoom link. Hope to see you there!

Name: Krishna Chaitanya Pavani (postdoctoral researcher)
Affiliation: Ghent University (Belgium)
Title of the presentation: Role of extracellular vesicles in bovine embryo communication
Biography: After finishing his BTech degree in biotechnology (2010) in India, Krishna Pavani earned his master’s degree in 2012 at the University of Skövde, Sweden, in molecular biology. He completed his PhD from the University of the Azores, Portugal, in 2016 with specialization in animal reproduction. He finished his second PhD as an early stage researcher from Ghent University with specialization in veterinary sciences. Currently he is working as a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University. He has been working in reproductive research for nearly eight years; he was a student member of the European Cell Death Organization, International Society of Biometeorology, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, IETS, and the International Society of Extracellular Vesicles. So far, he has published 15 research papers as first author with an H-index of 7. His work has been presented in various national and international peer-reviewed journals. He has supervised two bachelor’s students and one master’s student. Currently, he is guiding three PhD students in extracellular vesicle research.

Name: José Felipe Warmling Spricigo (assistant professor)
Affiliation: Universidade Federal de Goiás (Brazil)
Title of the presentation: Why the intrafollicular transfer of immature oocytes can be an alternative for the conventional systems of embryo production in cattle
Biography: José Felipe Warmling Spricigo earned a bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine at the Santa Catarina State University (2009), and MS (2010) and PhD (2016) in animal science at the University of Brasília, Brazil. He conducted some of his projects at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain (2014). His first postdoctoral degree was at Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, Brazil (2016). In collaboration with his supervisor, Spricigo studied an alternative system for bovine in vivo embryo production without the use of stimulating hormones. From 2017 to 2019, he held a postdoctoral grant in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, Canada. During this time, his research focused on dairy cow health, nutrition, and reproductive physiology. Currently, he holds an adjunct professor position at the Escola de Veterinária e Zootecnia, at Universidade Federal de Goiás. Among his research interests are bovine reproductive physiology and biotechnology.