Gamete Division, PI: Dr. Nucharin Songsasen
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
I also conducted an additional project comparing methods of in vitro follicle culture. I tested 2D (agar block) and 3D (alginate and collagen encapsulation) methods on follicle and oocyte growth as well as oocyte development. I found that the although there was variation based on the size of the follicle, overall the 3D methods were much more effective.
Maned wolves are a threatened species found in South America. The largest population in the USA is kept at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, I worked with Dr. Nucharin Songsasen and graduate student Amy Johnson to research methods of optimizing and supporting maned wolf reproduction in captivity. We used non invasive hormone sampling to study the management conditions necessary for stimulating ovulation in single and paired wolves. I processed fecal samples, extracted hormones, and ran progesterone and estrogen conjugate enzyme immuno assays. From the hormone profiles we were able to determine that paired wolves only needed a deslorelin implant to induce ovulation, while single wolves needed both deslorelin and lutenizing hormone. The results were published in 2014.