Research

The research interests of our lab can be summarized in three main pillars: I) Oogenesis and folliculogenesis, II) Oocyte-to-embryo transition, and III) Cryobiology.

Since the early 2000s, the study of the last stages of oogenesis and differentiation of the fully grown oocyte, together with the transition from growing to the fully grown stage, has been at the core of ReDBioLab research and led to the morphological, functional, and molecular definition of essential features that, at present, define a competent fully grown oocyte, mainly in the bovine species. These studies led to the development of pre-IVM protocols that improved the embryo yield, serving as prototypes for other mammals comprising humans. More recently, the focus has been expanded to earlier stages of oocyte and follicle development, where the overall elucidation of basic molecular mechanisms of survival, activation, and growth is still ‘primordial’. These studies could also help define mechanisms of ovarian aging and premature ovarian aging, potentially finding strategies for its prevention or control.

To fulfill its destiny and become an embryo, the fully grown and differentiated oocyte must undergo a series of changes that allow the faithful interaction with the male gamete and a complete erasure of the maternal and paternal differentiation program to implant the embryos. This complex yet extremely fast reprogramming is defined as oocyte-to-embryo transition, and it is stunningly orchestrated at a post-transcriptional level for several days. At ReDBioLab, we conduct research to shed light on some pathways and molecular players regulating such transition and to understand how the maternal and cultural environment can affect development.

Finally, assisted reproductive technologies and fertility preservation programs can only exist in the development of cryopreservation. In this sense, cryopreservation techniques are essential to bring the lab to the field and vice versa. Hence, the need to improve the existing protocols for gonadal tissue, gametes, and embryo cryopreservation goes along with a deeper understanding of cryobiology principles.

Often, a clear-cut between the different research lines cannot be drawn, with some topics and experimental models naturally expanding one into the other, creating a multidisciplinary crosstalk. Overall, the advance in knowledge gained with our studies found applications for fertility preservation and improvement of assisted reproductive technologies that can be applied to biodiversity maintenance, livestock breeding, and infertility treatment.

Ongoing Projects

“The Cumulus Oophorus extracellular MATRIX as a marker of follicular development, oocyte maturation, and embryo quality in human assisted reproduction” (CO-MATRIX) –  European Union Next-Generation EUROPE (PIANO NAZIONALE DI RIPRESA E RESILIENZA (PNRR) Missione 4 – Componente 2,  Italian Ministry of University and Research MUR, PRIN2022, No. 20227EB74M

Scientific Coordinator: Antonio Inforzato (PI, Humanitas University) UniMI Coordinator: Alberto Maria Luciano (Co-PI, University of Milan) Research team: Valentina Lodde, Federica Franciosi, Gaia Cecilia Luvoni, Magdalena Ladron De Guevara Go to the web site

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Regione Lombardia PSR project: Approcci integrati in situ ed ex situ per la tutela della biodiversità della razza bovina Varzese: Fase 2 del Progetto INNOVA – Progetto R-INNOVA (2022-2024) FEASR – Programma di Sviluppo Rurale 2014-2020 -MISURA 10 – “Pagamenti agro climatico ambientali” SOTTOMISURA 10.2 – “Sostegno per la conservazione, l’uso e lo sviluppo sostenibili delle risorse genetiche in agricoltura” OPERAZIONE 10.2.01 – “Conservazione della biodiversità animale e vegetale” – No. 202102146691

Scientific coordinator: Alberto Maria LucianoResearch team: Valentina Lodde, Federica Franciosi, Gaia Cecilia Luvoni, Martina Colombo, Pritha Dey Go to the Website

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New perspectives for the exploitation of female reproductive potential in mammals: from the recovery of the untapped natural ovarian reserve to the generation of oocytes and granulosa cells from mesenchymal stem cells (InfinitEGG) – Italian Ministry of University and Research (MUR), PRIN2020, No. 20209L8BN4

PRIN: PROGETTI DI RICERCA DI RILEVANTE INTERESSE NAZIONALE Bando 2020 Prot. 20209L8BN4
Scientific coordinator: Alberto Maria Luciano
Research team: Alberto Maria Luciano, Federica Franciosi, Valentina Lodde, Fernanda Fagali Franchi and Noemi Monferini

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Regione Lombardia PSR project: Programma innovativo per la tutela della biodiversità ed eredità materna della razza bovina Varzese – INNOVA (2019-2022)FEASR – Programma di Sviluppo Rurale 2014-2020 -MISURA 10 – “Pagamenti agro climatico ambientali” SOTTOMISURA 10.2 – “Sostegno per la conservazione, l’uso e lo sviluppo sostenibili delle risorse genetiche in agricoltura” OPERAZIONE 10.2.01 – “Conservazione della biodiversità animale e vegetale”

https://innovapsrlombardia.it/ Scientific coordinator: Alberto M. LucianoResearch team: Alberto M. Luciano, Federica Franciosi, Valentina Lodde, Gaia Cecilia Luvoni, Martina Colombo

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Closed Projects

FOLLICULAR SYSTEM – Join Project UNESP-UNIMI (2016-2021)

Investigators: Jose Buratini Jr, Ana Caroline S. Soares, Valentina Lodde and Alberto M. LucianoInternational patent number PCT/BR2016/000019 (WO 2017/143412 A1).Project: aims to provide to the oocyte a more physiological environment for its development in order to fully acquire meiotic and developmental competence, which are both related to the oocyte’s capability to complete meiotic division, to be fertilized and to develop into a viable embryo.

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