UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE
Family Building Research Fund
Raising your hope for the future of IVF through cutting edge research
What is the University of Delaware Family Building Research Fund?
Building a family poses significant challenges for millions worldwide and tens of thousands in Delaware are affected with infertility, a devastating disease that can be overcome by in vitro fertilization (IVF). Current IVF lab procedures create embryos for uterine transfer, but non-invasive diagnostic techniques are desperately needed to help identify single blastocysts (embryos) with the highest chance of yielding healthy singleton pregnancies.
Team RAD has formed a unique and productive collaboration with Dr. Patricia DeLeon, a top-notch world-renowned reproductive scientist in the Biology Department at the University of Delaware. Together, their research aims to assess tiny microparticle blastosomes that will help identify healthy implantation-competent blastocysts.
The University of Delaware Family Building Research Fund, established through the nonprofit 501c(3) Delaware Community Foundation (DCF), will help support and enhance vital IVF research carried out in Dr. DeLeon’s laboratory, where significant efforts towards understanding the wonders of embryo biology will occur. Donations to this fund are tax deductible and will directly support this vital research at the University.
To learn more about the University of Delaware Family Building Research Fund, click on the questions below.
What community need will the University of Delaware Family Building Research Fund fulfill?
The birth of this nonprofit research fund reflects a largely unmet need to explore reasons why some IVF embryos develop into healthy babies, but many other embryos do not. In fact, many of our patients often ask us why there aren’t more decisive and scientific ways to determine which embryos have the highest potential for success.
While our excellent embryologists can carefully study the development of each individual embryo conceived in our lab, it is quite a challenge to make predictions about which embryo(s) will implant simply by visual inspection. As many of you know, testing the chromosomes of a well-developed blastocyst embryo can significantly enhance success rates, but this approach is invasive, costly, and certainly not a guarantee of pregnancy success. We need new and better approaches!
Our community is quite fortunate to have a top-notch world-renowned reproductive scientist in the Biology Department at the University of Delaware. Her name is Dr. Patricia DeLeon, and her lab is now investigating certain biological processes that are highly relevant to the field of IVF. Fortunately, Dr. DeLeon has forged a wonderful collaboration with RAD, and together we are in a unique position to learn much more about the wonders of human embryo development.
The University of Delaware Family Building Research Fund, established through the nonprofit Delaware Community Foundation (DCF), will help support and enhance vital IVF research carried out Dr. DeLeon’s laboratory. Through its incredible reputation and low administrative costs, the DCF will help channel donated research funds directly to Dr. DeLeon’s laboratory, where significant efforts towards understanding the wonders of embryo biology will occur.
Dr. Patricia DeLeon, the Trustees Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware, has been on the faculty for over 40 years. She has gained national and international recognition for her work that has produced three patents issued or pending and over 100 publications and book chapters.
What research is now taking place?
The project Team RAD is most excited about now in Dr. DeLeon’s lab involves studying our IVF culture media following embryo growth and development. Typically, this culture media is discarded after a blastocyst embryo has completed its growth. However, a recent discovery made as part of the RAD-DeLeon lab collaboration found that embryo growth media actually is a treasure trove of unique information about the embryo. More specifically, we are examining unique tiny microparticles produced and released by embryos into their culture media which we are calling ‘blastosomes.’ Our major goal is to determine if these newly discovered ‘blastosomes’ contain unique molecules that could help us identify the best embryo(s) for transfer to the uterus via completely non-invasive diagnostic approaches.
In order to draw meaningful conclusions from this research, the collaboration between RAD and Dr. DeLeon’s lab will require the inspection and evaluation of thousands of embryo media samples. In the coming year, RAD intends to carefully collect these samples, typically about 200 or more per month, which will then be analyzed under Dr. DeLeon’s direction at the University of Delaware. Although this will require some extra work by our embryology staff, RAD is wholly committed to this endeavor, and has already started the media collection process in earnest.
Dr. DeLeon and her research team is also wholly committed to this collaboration, and has already enlisted other core centers within the Delaware Biotechnology Community (DBI), which is helping with initial funding via the Center for Advanced Technology (CAT). However, as with all new research endeavors, there are significant costs involved in supporting this endeavor, particularly with supplies and assay kits required to delve into this new world of embryo media blastosomes.
Can I help support this vital research?
Yes you can. Thanks for asking! While we hope to utilize other sources of biotechnology funding going forward, whether in Delaware or elsewhere in the U.S., your kind tax deductible donation will immediately help support this vital Family Building research. No donation is too small (or too large!). We hope you will consider this Fund in your end-of-year giving plans, and to help spread the word about this research to your network of friends and family.
Delaware is a strong and vital community, with a heartfelt commitment to families, new knowledge, and our wonderful University. Thank you for your consideration of this request. And at any time, feel free to reach out to Team RAD to learn more about this unique and productive collaboration with our scientific colleagues at the University of Delaware.
Dr. Feinberg & RAD’s Research Alongside the University of Delaware Featured on WHYY’s ‘First’
In case you missed it, WHYY’s “First” episode featuring RAD’s research is now online! Thank you to WHYY reporter, Nichelle Polston, for sharing this heartfelt piece. Learn more about the University of Delaware Family Building Research Fund and how it is raising our hope for the future of IVF!
In The News
UDaily – Supporting Economic Development – January 6, 2017
The Delaware Bioscience Center for Advanced Technology (Bioscience CAT) has awarded six new Applied Research Collaborations (ARC) or Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept (EPoC) grants. Dr. Patricia DeLeon’s collaboration with RAD was awarded this novel grant to develop non-invasive diagnostic techniques that help identify embryos with the highest chance of yielding healthy pregnancies.
Technical.ly – This UD Researcher Hopes To Make In Vitro Fertilization Much More Affordable – January 13, 2017
Dr. Patricia DeLeon, Trustees Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware, discusses her partnership with RAD. In addition, she shares her hope to make in vitro fertilization more affordable with a grant from the Delaware Bioscience Center for Advanced Technology (CAT).
February 10th – McKinly Lab, University of Delaware
We enjoyed a behind-the-scenes look with Dr. Feinberg and Dr. DeLeon collaborating in the DeLeon Laboratory at the University of Delaware and even caught a glimpse of the legendary chalkboard! Kun Li and Zeinab Fereshteh are key members of Dr. DeLeon’s research team.
February 19th – Reproductive Associates of Delaware Lab, Newark, DE
We were honored to meet WHYY reporter, Nichelle Polston, and her crew to film “First,” Delaware’s news magazine! Nichelle sat down with Dr. Feinberg to discuss the cutting edge IVF Research RAD is conducting with Dr. Patricia DeLeon at the University of Delaware. They WHYY crew also received an insider tour of our IVF Embryology Laboratory. Stay tuned for more details.
February 23rd – Reproductive Associates of Delaware Lab, Newark, DE
The research team at work! They are examining unique tiny microparticles produced and released by embryos into their culture media which we are calling ‘blastosomes.’ The team joined Gary from ParticleMetrix to use ZetaView, a particle tracking analyzer, to help measure blastosomes in our culture media.
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