skip to content

Cambridge Reproduction


In vitro gametogenesis could provide a welcome 21st century update to assistive reproductive technologies. Unlike IVF, this approach promises to provide true reproductive equity by providing fertility solutions for all, including the developmentally infertile and LGBTQIA+ couples. The research underpinning this technique can also be harnessed for endangered species conservation, and holds potential to benefit the wider scientific community by providing new insights into basic stem cell biology. However, due to technical limitations, little is known about the crucial developmental window when mammalian germ cells irreversibly become sperm or egg. Clear architectural differences arise between the testes and ovary during the progression from bi-potential germ cell to sex-committed gonocyte, which tantalizingly suggests a role for mechanobiology in regulating this fate decision. However, measuring dynamic forces within developing organs faces the original Schrödinger’s cat conundrum: the techniques used to measure forces often alter the forces being measured. My research, hosted by the Surani lab at the Cambridge Gurdon Institute, attempts solve this riddle by applying cutting-edge approaches from the world of biophysics to the field of developmental germ cell biology, with the aim of understanding how forces are involved in gamete maturation.